Is My Spouse in the Military Service?

Thanks to my friend and colleague Mark Sullivan for this one. As every person who has lost track of his spouse knows, the Service Members Civil Relief Act now requres that, before you obtain a default judgment against a defendant you can’t find, you certify that the defendant is not serving in the military service (because if they are, there are even stricter rules against default judgments). So if you haven’t heard from or communicated with this person for years, how on earth do you prove the negative, that they are NOT in the military?

The good news is that the Defense Department Manpower Data Center has provided a centralized interface to allow you to find out quickly and easily whether a person is in the military. The bad news is that, when I tried it this morning, it wasn’t working.

The site asks you for the person’s social security number, last name, birth year and month, first name, and middle name. The problem is that it didn’t allow me to enter the birth month and then fussed at me for omitting it. The site helpfully provides a (non-toll-free) phone number to call for assistance, where the machine hung up on me because I didn’t know the number of the person I was calling.

Oh well, I’ll keep trying. If you get it to work, please post a comment telling us so.