How Military Verification Works in Process Service

When serving legal documents to individuals who may be serving in the military, process servers must ensure the person is in the military. Active-duty, reserve, and National Guard military personnel are protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The ability to stay) civil court or administrative proceedings are safeguards that service members have if they cannot appear or participate fully due to military obligations.  Click here For information on How To Serve Legal Papers on Military Bases

Since service members’ responsibilities may hinder their capacity to react to legal actions, this requirement is implemented to safeguard their rights. One step in the military verification process is looking into the defendant’s military status to see if they currently serve in the United States military. Legal professionals or process servers utilize this verification process to ascertain adherence to the SCRA. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are trained to apprise the court of the defendant’s military status, which may impact the course of the case.  Click here for information on How The Service Member Civil Relief Act Protects our Military

Understanding the Rules of Jurisdiction and Residence to Locate a Service Member

The fact that laws can differ from one state to another is something that all process servers need to know. Our Undisputed Legal process servers begin any service with the question: what source does the authority to exercise personal jurisdiction- or legal authority-over the service member originate?   Click Here for information on How Skip Tracing Helps Locating Elusive Individuals

Personal jurisdiction is derived from the state of domicile for all individuals, including those in the military. That is your permanent residence for the ordinary citizen. A service member’s domicile is typically where they were recruited from. However, due to the highly mobile lifestyle of the military, locating and serving them becomes complicated. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Just how crucial is this? A person’s ‘domicile’ determines which courts have jurisdiction over them. Because of their domicile, a service member from Alabama who resides in New York can be sued in Alabama. This does not rule out the possibility of a court having personal jurisdiction over a defendant without general jurisdiction; however, due process must be observed. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

The location of a service member’s primary residence also plays a crucial role in the administration of process services. Many service members reside on a military installation, though many opt to live off base.  Civilians face difficulties gaining access to military installations. There are rigorous protocols to follow to gain access unless you are a member of the immediate family, a veteran, or an installation employee. This is why a private process server like those at Undisputed Legal needs to be trained and aware of how service has to be enacted on military personnel. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

At Undisputed Legal, we coordinate with the judge advocate general and the local military police to gain access to a post. The JAG examines this request to determine if an individual can access the installation. It may take as long as two weeks to finish this process. Additional requirements may arise to ensure compliance with the host nation’s regulations if the service member is stationed abroad. We at Undisputed Legal have served papers across the country, and out of it, we can serve your documents according to the Hague Service Convention. Click here for information on How To Overcome Language Barriers in Process Service 

Laws Of Jurisdiction And Military Installation

Our Undisputed Legal process servers are mindful of additional jurisdictional concerns when serving military personnel residing on the post. The first question is whether that facility is subject to federal and state authority or only federal authority.  Click here for information on How Timelines Are Important in Process Serving.

Unless the lawsuit is filed in the same state as the installation, installations under concurrent jurisdictions are not legally obligated to allow service of process in a lawsuit. The service member is not obligated to meet with the process server at the agreed-upon location and time. Still, base authorities will offer the opportunity if the installation grants the process server access. Click Here for information on How Skip Tracing Can Improve Your Debt Recovery Process

Base authorities are required to allow service of process, subject to ‘reasonable restrictions,’ if the jurisdiction is concurrent. In a state civil suit, the base command cannot be forced to grant access if the installation’s state and the court’s seeking process are different. Before requiring cooperation, the base authorities will allow the service member to meet with the process server at a prearranged location and time. Such arrangements are not mandatory for the service member. Consequently, our Undisputed Legal process servers will consider other options to enact service successfully. Click Here for information on How Skip Tracing Works

The legal system guarantees that active-duty service members are protected by confirming their military status. Since they may be unable to defend themselves in court while serving, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects them from unfair legal actions. The court requires a statement or affidavit verifying whether the defendant is in military service before specific legal actions. This includes default judgments against individuals who have not responded to lawsuits or other legal proceedings, which can be taken forward.

The military verification process relies heavily on process servers, who deliver legal documents to people who may be in the military or who are dependent on someone who is. To make sure the safeguards offered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) are used correctly, this is an essential step. 

Prevention of Default Judgement and Service

If the defendant is serving in the military or is dependent on a service member, the court must delay the start of the proceedings until 180 days after their discharge or termination from the military. This can be done upon request from defense counsel or at the court’s discretion, but only if the court finds that[A.]  defendant must be present to present any defense to the action, or [B.] After reasonable efforts, defense counsel has been unable to reach the defendant or establish the existence of a valid defense. 

It does not mean legal representation if the defendant does not respond to or cooperate with legal representation after being contacted. In domestic relations cases, the entry of temporary orders is not prevented by any bar to the entry of judgment or the requirement to grant a stay. For a court or administrative tribunal to issue a temporary order as permitted by this subsection, it must also determine that the other parties would be unfair if nothing was done, even though the service member was absent. A service member’s lack of involvement in issuing a temporary order does not constitute final approval of the subject matter.

 A defendant member of the armed forces or their dependents may seek a stay of proceedings under the SCRA if they become aware of the action. If a default judgment is entered in a case involving a service member o while serving in the military or within 180 days after leaving, the court can reopen it to give the service member or their dependent a chance to defend themselves. This can happen if it is determined that the service member or dependent was significantly impacted by their military service when deciding how to respond to the lawsuit, and the service member or dependent has a valid defense to the entire case or part of it.

A right or title acquired by a bona fide purchaser for value is not impaired if a court vacates, sets aside, or reverses a default judgment against a service member or his or her dependent due to a provision of this chapter.  Process servers may encounter particular difficulties when attempting to serve an armed forces member during a lawsuit, divorce, or subpoena.

What do you need in the  Verification Process?

After the defendant has been identified, the process server is required by law to ascertain whether the defendant is a dependent of a service member or is serving in the military. Critical legal protections for military personnel and their families exist, and this action is necessary to ensure that those protections are respected.

The process server can proceed and serve the legal documents if it is determined that the defendant or their dependent is on active duty. This did not discharge their duties. The process server must provide more information to correctly fill out the Affidavit of Service. An essential piece of evidence regarding the defendant’s military status, this affidavit certifies that the legal papers were served lawfully. This information should include which branch of the military the defendant currently serves; with this data, process servers can better determine which courts have jurisdiction and which military protections may be applicable

The Server should also know the defendant’s station. If the defendant is serving overseas, knowing their stationing location can shed light on their service’s logistical difficulties and legal ramifications. Within the station, any server needs to have a liaison. Since servicemembers can often not be contacted directly, the server will typically connect with their superior officer. Obtaining their contact information thus becomes a vital part of the service of papers. The server can contact the military through their superior officer and confirm the defendant’s military status.

If available, our process servers at Undisputed Legal will include a copy of the orders for deployment. Any paperwork or information confirming the defendant’s active duty status would be helpful. Even though getting a copy of the deployment orders is not always possible owing to privacy and security concerns, attaching a copy is always beneficial.

With this information, the process server can finalize the Affidavit of Service, accurately recording the defendant’s military status and the service of the legal documents. For the court to consider the applicable SCRA protections, the defendant must submit this affidavit, an integral aspect of the legal proceedings. 

The careful execution of these procedures by our Undisputed Legal process servers guarantees the protection of the legal rights of individuals serving in the armed forces and their dependents. In addition to preserving the legitimacy of the judicial system, this also helps keep the privileges and protections enjoyed by military personnel.

What To Do When The Member Is Currently Serving In The Military

The court wants to know if the defendant has a right to military safeguards. Default judgments, evictions, foreclosures, and other legal actions should not concern the men and women serving their country, and the SCRA aims to make that possible. To safeguard the rights of servicemembers, the SCRA mandates that plaintiffs verify military status in most cases.

The court typically requires the plaintiff (lender, landlord, or anyone else seeking a judgment) to submit a military affidavit before a default judgment can be entered.  The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act makes statements of military service or statements. By swearing to have verified the defendant’s military status in an affidavit, the plaintiff can establish that the defendant is not currently serving in the military.

A. Check All Information Before Service

Preciseness is vital. Due to the severe penalties imposed by the SCRA, a federal statute, plaintiffs should ensure their information is correct before serving it to servicemembers. The plaintiff may have violated this statute if they hastily signed an affidavit without verifying the defendant’s military status.

The verification must typically yield a dispositive military affidavit to be accepted by the courts. This means that the judge typically wants a yes/no response. There should be no caveats or unclear statements given to them. We at Undisputed Legal make sure that the defendant if an active servicemember, will declare their status on the Affidavit of Service upon delivery of papers

B. Utilising the SCRACVS to Verify Status

One must be in the military to qualify for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act benefits. To determine if someone is serving in the military, plaintiffs check their military status. These confirmations are necessary for the courts to handle cases involving the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA retains a system that certifies whether individuals are on active military duty or are eligible for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protections.

Individuals utilize the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service system for process servers, debt collection, and company ownership. It’s a convenient way to verify your military status in one place. Parties can complete the SCRA military status verifications without the Social Security number. 

Process servers must fill out an affidavit to be designated as a unique process server. This affidavit proves the applicant has a spotless criminal record and no military dishonorable discharge history. 

A military member or dependent required by law or court rule to appear as a defendant in a civil action or proceeding is subject to this section. The plaintiff must submit an affidavit in any action or proceeding under this section. The affidavit must state [A.] whether the defendant is in the military or a dependent of a service member in the military and provide facts to back up the assertion or [B.] if the plaintiff cannot determine whether the defendant is in the military or a dependent of a service member in the military, it must state that the plaintiff is unable to decide on.

If a defendant is dependent on a service member in the military, the plaintiff can find out by serving or mailing a written notice to the defendant via first-class mail. 

Application For Designation As A Special Process Server 

An attorney’s motion requesting the proposed particular process server’s services is required with all applications. The approval is valid for one year, and applicants need to reapply with the correct paperwork (affidavit and motion) and pay the USD50 fee. A judge’s signature is required for a particular motion in cases where an individual is needed on an ‘as needed’ basis for a specific service. The motion should include the particular process server’s credentials, why ‘standard’ (sheriff, etc.) service is insufficient, and any other relevant information the judge should consider. In rare or extraordinary cases, these may also be used for execution, similar to wage attachment service. 

A unique process server is typically authorized solely to serve subpoenas and summonses. The name of a certified process server must be included in the principle (direction for service) in all civil cases. The process server’s name, as shown on the praecipe, must be included in the service affidavit per the Court’s requirement

What Is The Servicemember Is Not Currently Serving

The necessity for operational security adds another layer of difficulty to serving a deployed service member. Not even close relatives of a service member can be sure of their exact whereabouts or activities. Legal action would likely be postponed until their return from deployment, thanks to the Servicemember Civil Relief Act.

Getting process served on a military member might seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but it is not. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are well-versed in the ins and outs of military protocol and can ensure the timely delivery of your documents. Verifying your status as a military member can be a vital part of the case. Process servers can continue serving papers on a defendant. When providing service to a service member during their training, we at Undisputed Legal believe that it is essential to consider the specific needs of their installation.


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1. Military Housing – FAS Project on Government Secrecy, Accessed Apr. 2024.

2. Army Regulation 27–40, Litigation, dated 19 September 1994

3. Army regulations are at 32 C.F.R. § 516.10. They provide that on federal property where the right to serve process is 

  1. reserved by or granted to the state, 
  2. in areas of concurrent jurisdiction or 
  3. where the United States has only a proprietary interest, Army officials will determine if the individual wishes to accept service voluntarily. If the member declines to accept service, the requesting party will be allowed to serve the process by applicable state law, subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by the installation commander

4. Being if the state of the installation and the court-seeking process are the same

5. As defined in section 101(a)(5) of title 10, a servicemember is someone who is a member of the uniformed services,’ according to the SCRA at 50 U.S.C. 3911

6. The SCRACVS, with its headquarters in the nation’s capital, uses the DMDC SEERS database maintained by the US Department of Defence.

7. This reads: ‘NOTICE: Defendants in the military and their dependents are protected by state and federal law. Anyone who relied on a service member for more than half of their support for at least 180 days before requesting relief is considered a dependent of that service member. This includes the service member’s spouse and any minor children they may have



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