One of the lessons from the events of the terror attack in NYC on September 11, 2001, is that the current climate now calls for the sudden deployment of active military members to combat or non-combat service.
Active servicemembers are at a huge disadvantage when process servers conduct a substituted service or service by publication and they are unable to respond because they are on active duty.
To protect the rights of servicemembers, and as a credit to their service to the country, the government passed into law the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
To fully explain the purpose of an affidavit of non-military service, we must first discuss the purpose of the SCRA.
What Is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?
The SCRA covers a broad range of protection against financial or civil obligations and is only offered to active servicemembers. It takes effect from the date the personnel enters active duty to 30-90 days after they are discharged.
If a plaintiff, even unknowingly, violates the SCRA (i.e., initiates foreclosure or repossession procedures), they can be heavily sanctioned by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Landlords who file a petition for eviction due to non-payment of rent, for example, can get hefty fines amounting to $55,000 for the first violation and as much as $110,000 for subsequent violations.
One example of how the law works is it stops foreclosures on a servicemember’s house or car without a court order. It also doesn’t allow court proceedings like divorce and child support hearings to take place against servicemembers while they are on active duty.
It is therefore crucial for plaintiffs, lenders, and creditors to first make sure that the individual they’re bringing to court is not an active servicemember. They will need an official document to prove this in court.
What Is an Affidavit of Non-Military Service?
An affidavit of non-military service (also referred to as military affidavit) is proof that you, as the plaintiff, have done your due diligence by verifying if the defendant is an active personnel member. If verified, the affidavit will explicitly state that the defendant is currently not on active duty.
What Is the Purpose of the Affidavit?
The affidavit is necessary for the following:
- To avoid sanctions due to SCRA violations.
- To give the court reason to enter a default judgment if the defendant failed to respond despite a successful service of process (judges will not enter judgment without an affidavit of non-military service).
- To allow your lawsuit to proceed in court.
- To be allowed to file a claim against the defendant.
- To avoid long, expensive delays in your lawsuit.
How to Get an Affidavit of Non-Military Service
The standard procedure for getting an affidavit is to obtain a military verification from the DMDC or Defense Department’s Department Manpower Data Center.
A DMDC check requires specific information, however, like the defendant’s Social Security number. If you don’t have this information, the DMDC verification will bear a disclaimer that the result might be inaccurate — something that will not stand in court.
The best way to obtain an affidavit if you don’t have sufficient information about the defendant is to hire a third-party service. They have the means to provide military affidavits even without a Social Security number. These services gather other relevant information, like the defendant’s addresses, birthday, and VIN numbers to secure a military verification.
How Our Process Severs Can Help
Serve Index can assist with filing court documents and obtaining the affidavit from your chosen third-party service provider. Once you get an affidavit, our experienced process servers can proceed with the next steps, whether it is to serve papers to the inactive servicemembers or submit the affidavit to the court for a default judgment.
If you have further questions about obtaining military affidavits and how our process servers can help in the legal process, you may call our toll-free number (1-888-994-6339) or contact us via website form or email ([email protected]).