Who is the Affiant When Signing an Affidavit? Is it a Witness to the Signatures, or Person at Office You are Submitting To

Hossein Berenji, Jan 20, 2022

An affidavit is a document someone signs to swear to the truth of facts stated in the document. You might sign an affidavit if you are involved in a legal proceeding. Or, you may ask others to sign affidavits if you need them to support your claims.

For example, perhaps you’re involved in a child custody battle during a divorce. To convince the court they deserve custody of your children, your spouse might claim you spend little to no time with them.

This could be a lie. However, proving it is a lie may require identifying people who can counter your spouse’s claims. Examples of such individuals may be:

  • Neighbors who see you spending time with your children
  • Teachers, if you are actively involved in your child’s academic life
  • Doctors, if you tend to bring your children to their appointments
  • Members of religious establishments you may frequent with your children

You could request that individuals sign affidavits indicating you are an attentive parent. This is one way to strengthen your case.

How to Craft an Affidavit

You can draft an affidavit yourself or find a template online if you ever need one. However, this is not advisable. Your affidavit should contain all necessary information while not being too long. Thus, it’s a good idea to let your attorney provide you with an affidavit.

Whether you’re signing an affidavit yourself or requesting that others sign one for you, it’s important to carefully review all the fields on the document. You may find you have questions about some of them.

For example, an affidavit will typically include a space for an “affiant” to sign. This field sometimes confuses those who aren’t accustomed to signing or drafting affidavits. Some assume this signature space is for someone who has witnessed them signing the affidavit.

This is an understandable error. In fact, an affiant is the person who swears by the truth of the facts mentioned in the affidavit. So, if a neighbor signs an affidavit swearing you are a caring parent, that neighbor would be the affiant.

Let Your Attorney Help

In any instance, when you need to provide an affidavit to support your case during the divorce process, it’s very important to coordinate closely with your attorney. Confusion over who is an affiant is just one element of drafting and signing an affidavit that may jeopardize the usefulness of an affidavit if a professional isn’t offering assistance.

To return to the previous example, maybe a neighbor is helping you win your child custody case. Because the affiant is technically the one swearing to the truth of the statements in the affidavit, you might think they should be the one to write it.

Not necessarily. Yes, they must ultimately be the one to decide what the affidavit says. Still, it’s important that your attorney guide them through the process.

This isn’t because your lawyer will ask them to lie or exaggerate when writing an affidavit. It’s simply because your neighbor might not know what types of statements they should include and what types of statements are unnecessary. Or, with the best of intentions, they might draft an affidavit that’s exceptionally supportive of you.

That could have surprisingly negative impacts on your case when you submit your affidavit. Perhaps your well-meaning neighbor unintentionally exaggerated certain aspects of your character as a parent. You might give the court reason to believe you’re engaging in deceptive tactics. That won’t help you sway the judge to your side.

This is merely one reason you should always involve your lawyer when drafting and signing affidavits during any sort of family law case. Their guidance will ensure your affidavits are strong and sound.