What are military affidavits, and why are they important?
Military affidavits differ slightly depending on where you are located, but all of them are designed to do the same thing: confirm or deny an individual’s active duty status. Technically, a military affidavit is a court document that is used in many states to legally determine someone’s active duty status. This form will typically contain the individual’s basic personal information, such as his or her name and date of birth. It also contains a section where the signee can either confirm or deny the individuals active duty status. A third option is also offered if the signee isn’t sure of the person’s military status. If the individual in question isn’t on active duty, a space is provided to explain how it is known that the person’s military status is not active.
So military affidavits are used to confirm or deny active service, but what exactly does a debt collector need to do that for? Well, military affidavits are typically submitted to court during certain processes such as a foreclosure or default judgment. For example, if an individual does not show up for a court case, a military affidavit confirming his or her active duty status would abstain the individual from any negative consequences, since servicemembers are excluded from having to show up to court while deployed. Additionally, a foreclosure cannot be initiated if the individual behind on his or her mortgage payments is currently on active duty. This means that a lender who intends to foreclose on an individual should first obtain a military affidavit proving that he or she is not on active duty, to avoid legal entanglements.
Any legal action entered into a servicemember, regarding his or her financial obligations, will typically require a military affidavit to move forward smoothly. The SCRA simply offers too many protections for debt collectors not to verify military service before taking actions against individuals who may be servicemembers. Making the mistake of skipping active duty status verification could drag out what would have been a much more simple legal process.
Why and how do you need to acquire a military affidavit?
So, what sort of actions, specifically, will require an affidavit? The judicial foreclosure process will typically require one, and even in nonjudicial jurisdictions if you foreclose on someone who claims to be on active duty, you should be have in hand documents verifying that the individual is not, and thus also not eligible for SCRA protections. Repossessions of vehicles will also move along much more smoothly if you have an affidavit proving that the individual is not on active duty.
Luckily, there are services that make it extremely easy to acquire a verified active duty service affidavit. For example, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service accesses the Defense Department’s Defense Manpower Data Center to determine whether or not someone is on active duty service. SCRACVS then provides users with a verified military affidavit. The service also offers the option to fill out the affidavit for users, making the process a bit easier for lenders and debt collectors who have enough to worry about as they sort out payment issues.