A Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit is sometimes necessary in court.
Many lenders and business owners are aware that they must adhere to the requirements of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in their dealings with military personnel. This federal law protects deployed servicemembers from court actions such as foreclosures, evictions, repossessions and more.
When filing suit against a debtor, the lending institution or business owner must show in court that the defendant is not an active member of the military. Anyone who proceeds with a court case against a servicemember on active duty without a court order is subject to stiff fines and penalties.
But is a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit required?
Not always, but it’s good to have.
Different Courts, Different Rules
Many times, plaintiffs must show they have done due diligence in attempting to determine a defendant’s military status. If they use the Defense Manpower Data Center as a source, they may get an indeterminate answer. Without a servicemember’s Social Security number, the DMDC provides results with a disclaimer that says results are not guaranteed.
Some courts of law may let this slide. But even when they do, the Justice Department may not, so it is best to get a definitive answer and a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit.
The DMDC does not provide Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavits, even when they have the Social Security number. Only an independent agency like the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service can provide an affidavit.
Less Documentation Needed
SCRACVS can even provide a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit without a Social Security number. If we have other identifying information, such as a full name, birthdate, names of relatives, addresses, etc., we can search and find the Social Security number.
The affidavit is $20, and we can deliver it within 24 hours. Having a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit in court shows unequivocal proof of the plaintiff’s military status.
The SCRA does not cover every military member, however; just those on active duty. But, SCRA coverage can extend for a period of time before and after the date of deployment. So it’s critical to show exactly when the servicemember entered into the contract, relative to their date of deployment. A Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit shows the plaintiff’s military status as of particular specified dates.
Always Get a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Affidavit
Mistakes in court when dealing with servicemembers and the SCRA can be costly. Some institutions have paid millions in fines and restitution. The SCRA not only protects servicemembers from court actions, but it also requires credit card companies and lending institutions to charge no more than 6 percent interest during the time of deployment.
The nuances of the SCRA are many, and they are not always spelled out. Plaintiffs should protect themselves by having a Servicemembers Civil Relief Act affidavit in hand when going to court.