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If you are representing yourself, then at some stage you will need to draft your own affidavit for your family court matter. You might also have to write an affidavit of someone you want to give evidence to the Court as a witness.
An affidavit is a written statement setting out the facts of a case in your own words.
An affidavit is the main way of presenting evidence to the Court by a party or a witness. Evidence is the facts of your case.
What information do you put in your affidavit? The information the family court wants to see in affidavits are the facts and circumstances you want to rely on in support of your case.
When you write your affidavit you need to think about what facts and circumstances will help convince the court of your arguments and to make the orders you want the court to make.
There is a specific form you must use for your affidavit. The form is different depending on whether you are filing it in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. A Statutory Declaration is a different form to an affidavit and should not be used.
It can help if you use a template or sample affidavit to draft your own affidavit.
If you use an affidavit a friend used in their family law matter you should ask whether it was drafted by a lawyer, as very often, affidavits drafted by a self represented person are too long and contain too much information that the court does not consider relevant.
If you use another affidavit as a precedent or as an example to help you draft your own affidavit, you should make sure it is a good affidavit to use as a sample.
To help you draft your own affidavit we have kits available with easy to follow instructions including an example. You can obtain those kits from our DIY Kits page.
The person writing (often called making) the affidavit is called the deponent.
The affidavit needs to be signed in front of a qualified person which is usually a Commissioner for Declarations, Commissioner of Oaths, Justice of the Peace, Lawyer or Barrister.
There are some key points to remember about Affidavits:
When you are writing your affidavit you need to think about how it can be used to your best advantage and bear that in mind as to what you need to make sure goes into your affidavit. Read our fact sheet How to use your affidavit to your best advantage in the family court to help you do this.
In Australia, for family law matters, the steps you follow to draft an Affidavit are the same whether you are in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory.
If you want the court to read any letters, reports or other documents you have then you need to attach those documents to your affidavit. You can read how to do this in our fact sheet What are the requirements to attach documents (annexures) to affidavits.
Many people do not know whether they should be swearing their affidavit on oath or affirming their affidavit. We explain the difference in the fact sheet Do you swear or affirm your affidavit.
Michelle Beatty, Senior Lawyer
Other Questions answered in the Representing Yourself, Court Process & Procedure Section
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