What are military affidavits?
Military affidavits differ slightly depending on where you are located, but all of them do the same thing: confirm or deny an individual’s active-duty status.
Technically, a military affidavit is a court document that many states use to legally determine someone’s active-duty status. This form will typically contain the individual’s basic personal information, such as name and date of birth. It also contains a section where the signee can either confirm or deny the individual’s active-duty status. There is a third option if the signee isn’t sure of the person’s military status. If the individual isn’t on active duty, a space is provided to explain how this is known.
Why are military affidavits important?
So military affidavits confirm or deny active service, but why exactly does a debt collector need to do that?
Well, military affidavits come into play in court during certain processes, such as foreclosures or default judgments. For example, if an individual does not show up for a court case, a military affidavit confirming his or her active-duty status absolves him or her of any negative consequences, since the law excludes servicemembers from having to show up to court while deployed.
Additionally, plaintiffs cannot initiate a foreclosure if the individual behind on mortgage payments is on active duty. This means that a lender who intends to foreclose on a borrower should first obtain a military affidavit proving that he or she is not on active duty, to avoid legal entanglements.
Any legal action regarding a servicemember’s 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 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. Even in nonjudicial jurisdictions, if you foreclose on someone who claims to be on active duty, you should be have 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 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. This makes the process easier for lenders and debt collectors who have enough to worry about with payment issues.