The Importance of a Quality Family Law Affidavit


In Family Law proceedings, it goes without saying that you want to present a strong case in your favour so that you can move on with your life, with closure. The most crucial factor in doing this is having a well-prepared, good quality family law affidavit.

What is an affidavit?

An affidavit is a sworn or affirmed document which contains the primary evidence on which your case is based. It provides your version of events and sets out the information and facts that will assist the Family Court to make its decision. An affidavit must be affirmed or sworn in front of a qualified legal practitioner or Justice of the Peace, confirming that its contents are true and correct.

An affidavit must contain, in writing:

  • A statement of your identity, including your full name, address, and what you do for a job
  • All evidence that you wish to present
  • Be written in first person
  • Be signed by you and initialled on each page

Any alterations made to it also have to be initialled by you, and the affidavit must be printed single-sided.

Drafting the details of an affidavit

Family Law proceedings are by definition a trial by affidavit, which is why careful consideration must be given to its drafting because this document is the most important document litigants (the parties to the proceeding) rely on. A family law affidavit gives you the opportunity to spell out or “paint a picture” of your story.

In order to paint a clear and persuasive picture, consideration must be given to ensuring that all relevant details are included. It’s absolutely vital that affidavits be:

  • Well written in chronological order, with dates where possible
  • Clearly understandable by all who will be reading it; not just you, but judges and other parties
  • Persuasive in presenting your case, containing evidence which can be verified in the witness box
  • Presented in a form that is admissible

What additional material should be included in an affidavit?

Any material that you wish to rely on as evidence should be annexed (and referred to in the body of the affidavit), unless it’s an expert report such as one from a psychologist or psychiatrist. In this event, the psychologist or psychiatrist should have their own affidavit and the report attached to it.

Examples of evidence that should be annexed are:

  • Drug test reports
  • Certificates of attendance at parenting courses
  • Letters from counsellors
  • Financial documents such as invoices, bank statements, superannuation statements and receipts, for matters that relate to property

What shouldn’t be included in an affidavit?

A family law affidavit should not contain opinions, needless repetition of facts or issues, personality flaws of your ex-spouse and other material completely irrelevant to the issues in the case.

In addition, the use of exaggerations and distortions (such as “always” and “never”) should not be included unless they can be substantiated, as they will not be looked on favourably. Rule 15.13 of the Family Law Rules (2004) provides that the court may order material to be struck out of an affidavit if the material:

  1. Is inadmissible, unnecessary, irrelevant, unreasonably long, scandalous or argumentative; or
  2. Sets out the opinion of a person who is not qualified to give it

If the court orders material to be struck out of an affidavit, the party who filed the affidavit may be ordered to pay the costs of any other party because of the material struck out.

Need advice on family law proceedings?

At Joliman Lawyers, we understand you’re looking to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children. Seeking legal advice may seem daunting, but our friendly, honest and experienced team of family law experts are here to help you navigate through what can be a very challenging time.

Get in touch with us today to find out more – we offer a complimentary first half-hour appointment to all new clients.

Trevor Jolly

Trevor Jolly

I have a passion for all things Family Law. My wife Justine and I commenced Joliman Lawyers in 2002. I'm a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. I am also a Parenting Coordinator and Conflict Coach.