Tips for Preparing Your Affidavit

If your matter is in Court, you will, at some point, be required to file an affidavit with the Court.

An affidavit is essentially a written statement, which can be described as ‘your story’. It is the evidence presented by you in support of your application or response. You will swear or affirm your affidavit to be true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Where you are required to file an affidavit, we will draft and prepare this affidavit with you. Depending on what is required, drafting an affidavit can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Here are some tips to help you, help us, prepare your affidavit.

  1. Compile a brief history of the matter, including important dates such as the commencement of a relationship, commencement of cohabitation, marriage date and date of separation.
  2. Provide a brief chronology about what has happened in your matter, including important dates to the best of your ability. For example, the date the family home was purchased or perhaps the date the Police attended your home in relation to an incident.
  3. Think about any incidents that would be relevant to the application and try to describe these in as much detail as possible. For example, if the Police attended your home in relation to an incident of family violence, describe the incident and what happened as best you can.
  4. Describe events or incidents that are within your knowledge or that you have experienced first-hand. A conversation that your relative had with a person at the shopping centre is likely to be inadmissible and not something that you can give evidence about.
  5. Try to remove the emotion and focus on the facts.
  6. Think about whether you have any documents to support what you are saying in your affidavit. For example, if you depose in your affidavit that you received threatening texts, make sure you have copies of these text messages. Supporting documents can be annexed or exhibited to your affidavit.

Other details in your affidavit will depend upon your matter, including whether it is a parenting or property matter, and whether you are the applicant or respondent in a matter.

In parenting matters, it is important that you are able to provide us with information about the history of the relationship, the parenting arrangements during the relationship, the parenting arrangements after the relationship as well as any details about risks (for example, family violence, mental health, drug or alcohol use).

In property matters, it is important that you are able to provide us with details about the history of the relationship/marriage, any assets owned prior to the relationship/marriage, any assets accumulated during the relationship/marriage, the financial contributions made by you during the relationship which may include use of an inheritance as a deposit on a property purchase, any non-financial contributions including child raising and details about your current financial circumstances.

If the other party has filed an affidavit in the matter already, it is important that you take some time to read through this affidavit and make a note of anything you disagree with by recording the paragraph number and your version of events.

We will advise you before we meet with you if there is any specific information, we require from you.

It is important to note that when filing an affidavit in relation to an interim application (whether you are the applicant or respondent) in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, these affidavits can only be 10 pages in length and can only contain 5 annexures. Trial affidavits are not limited to 10 pages but should not be any longer than necessary.

Jessica Fordham, Associate Solicitor, NLS Law