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Affidavits

An affidavit is a legal document that makes a sworn statement. It generally has at least one witness signature, and the affiant's signature is notarized. It can be drafted by the affiant or her attorney for her signature. All affidavits state the facts of the matter at hand.

Significance
Affidavits are used to support certain complaints or petitions in a court of law. Signing an affidavit and filing it with the court tells the court that you know the facts listed within are, to the best of your knowledge, true and correct.

Types
Affidavits are also used in financial matters within the court, such as bankruptcy financial affidavits and family law financial affidavits. As with any other affidavit, the affiant is swearing to the truth of the content of the affidavit.
A financial affidavit lists the affiant's income, tax obligations, assets and liabilities. It also lists contingent assets and liabilities. Certain states require both parties to a divorce to file a family law financial affidavit. Bankruptcy court also requires the filing of a financial affidavit.

Time Frame
Affidavits are considered good until they are updated by the affiant. A financial affidavit is also considered good until updated by the affiant. Most courts will require an updated financial affidavit once a year.

Features
Affidavits are used in a court of law to swear to facts in a document--the document can be a complaint/petition or a motion. A common place where an affidavit is used is a domestic violence case within a divorce case. Sometimes a party does not want to file a restraining order, but wants custody of the minor children because the spouse is allegedly doing something that is not in the best interest of the minor children. An affidavit is used by the accuser to list the facts. Though affidavits are signed, witnessed and notarized, most courts consider them heresay and require the affiant to testify that he did indeed sign the affidavit and that the allegations contained in the affidavit are true.

Identification
An affidavit contains the heading of the court matter, the alleged facts, or in the case of a financial affidavit, a spreadsheet listing income, taxes, assets and liabilities. It also contains a sworn and notarized signature block for the affiant and at least one witness signature. Some states may require two or more witnesses on an affidavit.

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