How to Write an Affidavit for Child Custody

By Teo Spengler - Updated April 03, 2017

An affidavit for child custody is a sworn statement giving facts relevant to a child custody matter. To make an affidavit, identify yourself, swear that the information you provide is true to the best of your knowledge, list the relevant facts, and then sign and date before a notary.

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What is an Affidavit?

An affidavit is a legal document containing someone's sworn statement. The person making the affidavit, called the affiant, swears in writing that it is true and signs and dates it before a notary.

An affidavit contains facts and direct observations. It is not appropriate to put speculations or stories you heard from someone else in an affidavit. The facts should be those of your own firsthand knowledge.

For example, if you witness the father in the divorce case hitting the child, you can put that in an affidavit. If you heard from a friend that she witnessed the father hitting the child, that is secondhand information (called hearsay) that does not belong in an affidavit.

What Are Child Custody Affidavits?

A child custody affidavit is this type of sworn statement filed in a divorce case. It is usually submitted by one of the parents or some third party having personal, firsthand knowledge relevant to the custody issues.

Family courts deal with child custody matters every day, since the location where the kids will live is one of the central issues decided in a divorce case. In some cases, the court accepts affidavits from the parents and other parties who have facts pertinent to custody issues.

Often affidavits are filed during the first part of a divorce case and assist the court in making temporary custody decisions that last until the case is finally decided. In a case where custody is disputed, the court is likely to have a hearing or trial to determine final custody, and, at this stage of the proceedings, witnesses come into court to testify, rather than submit their statements in affidavit form.

How to Write an Affidavit for Child Custody

Check with your family law court to see if it offers a sample affidavit for child custody or a child custody affidavit template. If so, that is the place to start. If not, you can find child custody affidavit examples online.

To make an affidavit, you usually introduce yourself first and then swear that you are going to tell the truth in the affidavit. For example, "I, Joe Jones, swear that the following facts are true to the best of my knowledge."

Then you present your list of relevant facts. These are often formatted as numbered paragraphs. At the end, put a line for a signature with your name under it, and a date line. If your state requires that an affidavit be signed before a notary, do not sign until you are with the notary.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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