General Affidavits are written statements of fact used to support your case or verify facts that are sworn to be true in front of a notary public. In this article, learn what general affidavits are, when to use a general affidavit to help your case, and how to fill one out to turn it into the court.
What is a General Affidavit?
A General Affidavit is a written statement, sworn to be true, giving specific reasons to support the things you are asking a judge to do.
You can use a General Affidavit to tell about information that you personally know and want the court to consider.
When should I use a General Affidavit?
General Affidavits may be required when you ask the court for "extraordinary" or extra special relief, like removing someone from a home or protecting children from an abusive parent.
Note: You may be able to use an unsworn declaration instead of a general affidavit. An unsworn declaration can serve the same purpose as a general affidavit in most (but not all) situations. Unlike an affidavit, you do not have to sign an unsworn declaration in front of a notary public. Read Unsworn Declaration to learn more.
ReadTexas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 132.001 on when you can use an unsworn declaration instead of a General Affidavit.
Is it important to tell the truth in a General Affidavit?
Yes. Because you swear to the information you provide in a General Affidavit, the information you include is treated as if you testified to it in court. You can be criminally prosecuted for perjury if you lie in a General Affidavit.
How do I fill out and turn in a General Affidavit?
The person preparing the General Affidavit is called the “affiant.”
General Affidavits must be signed in front of a notary public.
A notary must verify your identification before you sign the document. Make sure to bring ID (like a driver’s license or other form of identification) for the notary before you sign the affidavit.
Notaries usually charge a small fee ($6) to verify your ID and sign and stamp your affidavit. Check with the notary before you meet to find out how much and what form of payment to bring with you.
If you need help choosing the correct forms, use our Ask A Question tool to chat with a law student or lawyer online or use our Legal Help Directory tool to search for legal help in your area.
After your General Affidavit is signed before a notary, you will need to turn it in to the court.
Note: The instructions are for uncontested cases (agreed or default). If your case is contested, it is best to get help from a lawyer.
May I add an exhibit to my General Affidavit?
Yes, you may add an exhibit to your General Affidavit. An exhibit is something that you write about in the General Affidavit, state that you are attaching it as an exhibit, and add it onto the General Affidavit as the last page.
Exhibits to a General Affidavit can be another tool to show what you are saying is true.
An exhibit might be a copy of a document (like a copy of a receipt or written letter you mention in your General Affidavit) that supports the claim that your statement is true.
Does it cost anything to turn in a General Affidavit?
There is usually no fee for filing a General Affidavit. Call the district clerk’s office in the county where the case is on file to confirm.
Should I talk with a lawyer to look over my General Affidavit?
Yes! If possible, talk with a lawyer. You can hire a lawyer just to:
- give you advice and review your forms, or
- represent you at your hearing.
You may also be able to talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic. If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:
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