Anyone who has seen an episode of Law & Order has likely stumbled across the term “affidavit.” Though you may have heard the word, you may not know what it means or how it can be useful in the context of a South Carolina family law case. Keep reading to find out more about how affidavits can be helpful in Family Court in South Carolina.
What is an affidavit?
An affidavit is a voluntary written statement of facts that is given under oath and signed by both the witness and a notary public. The person that signs the affidavit must have firsthand knowledge of the facts contained in the document.
How are affidavits used?
Affidavits are most frequently used in Family Court at temporary (or motion) hearings, and they are among the key factors a Judge considers when making rulings. These are used at temporary hearings because (a) they provide information to the Court in an organized, helpful manner, and (b) it is usually easier for witnesses to sign Affidavits than to come testify in person.
When can they be beneficial?
Affidavits are important tools in family law cases, particularly on issues that might otherwise devolve into “he said / she said” fights. For instance, such situations can be clarified if an eyewitness signs a statement confirming a spouse's adulterous affair, mistreatment of a child, or alcohol or drug abuse. Affidavits such as these can provide confirmation that what you are alleging is true and can be very helpful in proving otherwise difficult allegations.
Do affidavits have to be filed to be useful?
The filing of an affidavit with a court can be helpful in bolstering your case, however, affidavits can also prove useful without ever being filed in court. In some cases, merely obtaining the affidavit and letting your spouse know about its existence might be all that you need to get him or her to drop certain claims, tell the truth, or act more reasonably – saving you both time and money. For example, if you have an affidavit of someone testifying to your spouse's affair that might be sufficient to get him or her to drop an alimony claim.