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A written statement of facts voluntarily made by an affiant under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law.
An affidavit is based upon either the personal knowledge of the affiant or his or her information and belief. Personal knowledge is the recognition of particular facts by either direct observation or experience. Information and belief is what the affiant feels he or she can state as true, although not based on firsthand knowledge.
Affidavits are used in business and in judicial and administrative proceedings.
Generally affidavits are used in business whenever an official statement that others might rely upon is needed. Statements of the financial stability of a corporation, the pedigree of animals, and the financial conditions of person applying for credit are examples of affidavits used in the commercial world.
Affidavits serve as evidence in civil actions and criminal prosecutions in certain instances. They are considered a very weak type of evidence because they are not taken in court, and the affiant is not subject to cross-examination. Their use is usually restricted to times when no better evidence can be offered. If a witness who has made an affidavit is not available to testify at a trial, his or her affidavit may be admitted as evidence. If the witness is present, his or her affidavit is inadmissible except when used to impeach the witness’s testimony, or to help the witness with past recollection of facts.
Affidavit for Immigration
In order to remove conditions on residence, the conditional permanent resident also needs to submit evidence that the relationship was entered in “good faith.” USCIS wants to confirm that the marriage was not entered into for the purposes of evading immigration laws.
These “letters of support” are letters written by people that know the couple and have first-hand knowledge of the relationship. The I-751 affidavit helps support other evidence that the couple submits to demonstrate that the marriage was entered in good faith and is a not a “sham” marriage.
The I-751 affidavit is not mandatory, but it strongly suggested by many attorneys. Affidavits are most useful when the other kinds of proof of the bona fide marriage are weak and possibly insufficient.
Affidavits are also used as evidence in ex-parte proceedings such as a hearing for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order or an order to show cause. The expeditious nature of such proceedings is considered to substantially outweigh the weak Probative value of the affidavits. In addition, there is normally a subsequent opportunity in the course of litigation for the opposing party to refute the affidavits or cross-examine the affiants.
An affidavit based on the knowledge of the affiant is accorded more weight than one based on information and belief. When admissible, affidavits are not conclusive evidence of the facts stated therein.
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