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An affidavit is a written statement made under oath and sworn to be true by the person who signs the document. Many include a statement that the person signing the document swears that the statements are true under the penalties of perjury. There are numerous different types of affidavits that are regularly used for a variety of legal purposes, including those for paternity, a name change, residency, support, and various probate affidavits.
A paternity affidavit is one way that legal paternity may be established when a child is born out of wedlock. When both parents agree that the child is the biological child of the putative father, then both parties often have the option to complete a paternity affidavit at the hospital or at the local health department. Once recorded, the document serves to legally establish the father's paternity along with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with paternity.
When a person wishes to legally change his or her name, courts often require that a name change affidavit be included with the original petition. The petitioner must swear that the name change request is not intended to defraud creditors or for any other illegal purpose. In some cases, the court will accept the document in lieu of a court appearance.
Universities often request proof that the parents of a student actually live within the state for tuition purposes. Many state-supported universities offer substantially reduced tuition to students who are residents of the state. A residency affidavit is used to provide additional proof that the student is an in-state resident.
In the United States, when a petition is filed to allow a person to enter the country on a family or fiance visa, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires proof that the applicant will not be a financial burden on the U.S. government. USCIS requires an affidavit of support for this purpose. The applicant's sponsor must affirm under oath that he or she is capable of supporting the applicant while he or she is in the United States.
When a person dies, his or her estate must generally pass through a legal process known as probate. When the estate has minimal assets, many jurisdictions allow the executor to file for a small estate administration. An affidavit must usually be filed swearing under oath to the assets and values that make up the estate in order for it to qualify for small estate administration.