When you write a sworn statement or affidavit, you are testifying under oath, and your words will become part of the court record in legal proceedings. You need to know how to prepare a written, sworn statement so the court will accept it and so everyone can understand it without further explanation, because you may not be present when it is read. Your written testimony will change someone's life if it helps determine the outcome of a case, so write it carefully and thoroughly.
Preparing the Statement
Title the document as either "Sworn Statement of" or "Affidavit of" followed by your legal name. Write the date you are composing the statement, not the date of the events the case is about or the date the statement may be delivered in court. The statement should begin with a sentence like, "I, John Doe, hereby swear or affirm as follows."
After that intro, write a chronological account of the events using numbered paragraphs if possible (although regular paragraph form is acceptable). You should write this in first person, using phrases like, "I saw" and, "I heard."
Give as much detail as possible. Avoid opinion. For example, instead of saying someone was well-dressed, describe what they were wearing. Avoid hyperbole. Don't say a man was as big as a house; give your estimate of his height and weight.
Above all, tell the truth. A sworn statement is made under penalty of perjury.
Read More: How to Prepare a Sworn Statement
Closing and Signing the Statement
Close the statement with a sentence similar to this: "I swear under penalty of perjury that the information I have provided is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, information and belief." This is your indication that you realize you are under oath. Take the statement to a notary public and sign the document in front of the notary so he can add his signature and seal.
Deliver the Statement
Provide the affidavit to your attorney if you have one, and he will file it or provide it to whatever party requires it. If you don't have an attorney, submit the statement to the court unless it was requested by a party, in which case you'll need to provide it to that party's attorney.
To write a sworn statement, prepare a numbered list of each fact to which you want to swear, and then sign the bottom below a sentence that indicates the statement is sworn and made under penalty of perjury. Sign before a notary.
Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.