How to Write a Character Affidavit

By Sampson Quain - Updated March 22, 2017

Character affidavits are typically written in situations that involve a court of law, such as on behalf of someone eligible for parole, someone who is adopting a child, someone who is seeking custody of a child or someone who is about to be sentenced for a crime. If you're asked to write this type of letter, compose the letter on a computer and make sure you ask the recipient or his or her lawyer if there are any special requirements such as having the letter notarized.

Formatting the Letter

Use block letter format and left justify your words so they line up all the way down the left side of the page. Write the name of the person for whom you are composing the letter first, then write your name and address.

The Content of the Affidavit

Write how long you've known the recipient of the letter and in what capacity. Establish the duration of your relationship, which will add authority and credibility to the rest of your letter.

Also consider expressing personal qualities of the recipient that you've observed over the course of your relationship. Provide specific examples of leadership, generosity and work ethic that personalizes the recipient and makes him or her come alive as a human being. Focus on positive qualities only and include events that you personally witnessed in order to authenticate those experiences.

Summarize the Letter

Summarize the letter by restating your complete belief in the recipient's positive qualities and good character. Express your willingness to answer any questions or further expound on the recipient's outstanding characteristics. Provide contact information such as your work number, mobile phone number and email address.

Finally, write a closing such as "Sincerely" or "Yours truly," sign and date the letter and include your current work title. If the letter must be notarized, the notary seal will be stamped at the bottom of the letter.

Tip

Proofread your letter for spelling and grammatical errors. Give it to another person so you have another set of eyes to check for mistakes.

In some cases, the court or a lawyer will provide you with a pre-printed form to use as your character affidavit. Typically, these forms have a number of questions for which you provide short answers, and often include a section for you to add additional comments.

Warning

Avoid going overboard with your praise. You want to emphasize the recipient's positive qualities, but if your letter implies that he couldn't do any wrong, it may undermine his cause, especially in parole and sentencing situations.

About the Author

Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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