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Everything You Need to Know About Affidavits

What is an affidavit?

When bringing an application to commence proceedings in the newly formed Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (and any other court, for that matter), parties are required to submit affidavits to the court.  An affidavit is effectively a legally sworn statement that outlines the facts and relevant information that will be used as substantial evidence in your case.  Your affidavit will need to be sworn or affirmed and as such, any falsely provided evidence can be deemed perjury, punishable under Australian law.  It is important to remember that your affidavit is not the place to air grievances and frustrations with respect to the other party.  It is also valuable to know that your affidavit will be served on all participating parties in the matter.  

 

What to include in an affidavit.

An affidavit need only be concerned with factual and specific evidence surrounding matters that the judicial member will be able to rely on when making findings.  You should try to recall as much detail about any incidents as possible, including places, dates, times and names of any persons involved.  You are legally required to provide full and frank disclosure, meaning you cannot leave out any details which do not weigh in your favour.  

 

What not to include.

As mentioned above, though you may be feeling hurt or angry at the other party in your family law matter, it is not appropriate to take up the judge’s reading time with broad, far-reaching statements that do not depose to any specific issue relating to your case.  It is not generally advised to include any hearsay evidence, that is, information told to you by another person and of which you cannot verify.  Your affidavit should also not provide your views or opinions on any issues.  

 

How do I draft an affidavit?

Though the circumstances of the application being made will largely determine what does and doesn’t need to be included, your affidavit will need to adhere to some formal requirements.  The affidavit must not exceed 10 pages if being filed in division 2 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court, or 25 pages if filing in division 1.  Your document should essentially run in chronological order, beginning with the initial background information and then moving into the details of any relevant events or incidents, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent.  It is also a requirement that size 12 font be used and that all paragraphs are numbered.   More details on drafting an affidavit are available at the FCFCOA website.  

 

Can I prepare my affidavit myself?

Whilst parties are entitled to prepare their own affidavits, the process can become complex, especially if parenting and property matters are both at play.  Love Family Lawyers will take the time to listen to all the facts of your case and provide advice to assist you to reach the best possible outcome for your family.  Contact our office on 07 3390 2344 to engage one of our friendly family law solicitors for a no-obligation initial consult, starting at just $99.