What Is An Affidavit?
An affidavit is a statement made under oath, claiming that a fact – or set of facts – is true to the best of the “affiant’s” knowledge. This sworn statement of facts is provided to the Courts or other government agencies to aid in proceedings like divorces, custody battles, and division of estate matters. Affidavits are usually sworn to before a Notary Public or before another officer that has authority to administer oath.
If false testimony was given in an affidavit form, the affiant, or the person who executed it, exposes himself against prosecution for the crime of perjury or giving a false statement under oath.
Keep in mind, there are situation-specific affidavits that may best serve your purpose for writing one, which is outlined at the end. However, to write a non-specific affidavit that can be used to serve nearly any purpose – follow the steps, below.
How To Write An Affidavit
- Determine the title of the affidavit.
- If the affidavit is a sworn statement, then the name and address of the person giving the testimony must be included in the title, e.g. Affidavit of Jane Doe.
- If the affidavit will be submitted before the court, the caption of the case must be stated at the top. The case caption may be found on any of the pleadings filed by the parties in said case. The caption must include the name of the court, the county and the state, the names of the parties, and the case number.
- In the first paragraph of the affidavit, include personal information about the affiant: his address, place of work, date of birth, occupation, immigration status, and the relationship of the affiant to any of the parties in the case.
- Write an opening sentence, which must be in the first person. Then, state that the affiant is swearing under oath or affirming the information in the affidavit.
- Make an outline of the facts to be stated in the affidavit. Determine which among the listed facts, are relevant and important, and disregard those that are not. Arrange the facts in a coherent manner.
- State each fact in its own paragraph. Number the paragraphs so that it will be easier to read it and to refer to it in court.
- Describe each fact concisely and clearly by providing names, dates, addresses, and other information as needed.
- Reference supporting documents by marking them as “exhibits.”
- Next, make a statement that the affidavit is a complete representation of the facts to which the affiant is swearing. Also, spell out the oath that the affiant is taking.
- Create the signature block. This is the space where the affiant signs his name.
- Lastly, provide a notary signature block.
Types of Affidavits
While the above affidavit format serves many purposes, there are situation-specific affidavits to keep in mind that might serve you better.
Some of the most common types of affidavits are:
Financial Affidavit – This type of affidavit proves facts like annual income and assets, and is commonly used for divorces.
Affidavit of Heirship – An Affidavit of Heirship deals with proving the property, liabilities, and assets of a family member who has passed away.
Affidavit of Support – To prove that an immigrant has the financial means to support themselves (usually with the help of a spouse or another person), an Affidavit of Support is used.
Child Custody Affidavit – Another affidavit commonly used during a divorce is one for child custody. This helps determine the child’s living situation by giving both parents a chance to explain why they should have custody.
Small Estate Affidavit – If you need to distribute assets to family members after someone has passed away, a Small Estate Affidavit is a great way to speed up the process.
Writing a sworn statement, not an affidavit? Here’s how to prepare one.