Most people have heard the term “affidavit,” but what is it and how can it be beneficial in a family law case? Quite simply, an affidavit is a written witness statement, signed under oath. Theperson signing the affidavit must have personal knowledge of the facts that he/she is affirming in the affidavit.
For example, if one spouse is alleging adultery in a divorce case, that spouse may file an affidavit of an eyewitness to the adultery. Since adultery is often difficult to prove, a swornstatement by a person who actually witnessed an adulterous act would be very beneficial in that case, particularly if the adulterous spouse is requesting alimony. It is important to note that thewitness must have personal knowledge of the facts in the affidavit – he/she cannot have merely “heard” that something happened.
Sometimes affidavits are not filed with the court but, rather, are obtained to gain an advantage in the action and possibly avoid a lengthy trial. In the example above regarding adultery, if theadulterous spouse knows there is an affidavit from an eyewitness to his/her adultery, he/she may drop his/her claim for alimony and save both parties the time and money associated with acontested trial on the issue.
For a sample affidavit that can be used in family law cases, see Fulton County Family Law Information Centerwebsite.