How Do I Fix an Error in an Affidavit or Add to an Affidavit?
Once you've sworn your affidavit, it's done. With one exception — for typos, discussed below — the only way you can fix a mistake in that affidavit or add additional information to it is to make a new affidavit.
It's not uncommon to have three, four, or even fifteen affidavits prepared in the course of a court proceeding in a family law dispute. These affidavits are mostly made to update the court on events occurring since the previous affidavit was sworn.
Note that new affidavits don't replace any of the previous affidavits, they just add to the written evidence already in the court file. Every affidavit stands on its own.
Adding new information
If you have to add new information or documents that should have been in the previous affidavit, you'll have to do up a new affidavit. In the beginning of the affidavit, just state that you're making the affidavit to give the court new information, and then set out the additional information you need to give the court.
In the example below, paragraph 1 is the standard beginning paragraph of an affidavit. Paragraph 2 explains that the affidavit is filed to give additional information. The other paragraphs add a new document and give some new information.
1. I am the Claimant in this matter, and as such have personal knowledge of the facts hereinafter deposed to. 2. I make this my affidavit to supplement the evidence given in my second affidavit, sworn in this matter on 1 April 2016 (the "Second Affidavit"). 3. At paragraph 32 of the Second Affidavit, I describe how the Respondent and I bought our 1980 Ford Pinto. I have now found the sales receipt for that purchase, which shows that I paid all of the down payment. Attached to this my Affidavit as EXHIBIT "A" is a true copy of the sales receipt, dated 1 April 2006. 4. At paragraph 44 of the Second Affidavit, I discuss how the Respondent and I bought the green filing cabinet. I have had the chance to give further thought to this purchase, and I now recall that it had four drawers. I accidentally omitted this fact in the Second Affidavit.
...and so on.
Fixing less important information
If you've made a typo in an affidavit that's already been sworn, you don't have to prepare a whole new affidavit. This is what you do:
- Take the sworn affidavit to a lawyer or notary public, preferably the lawyer or notary who executed the affidavit.
- When you're in front of the lawyer or notary, correct the mistakes on the affidavit in pen (cross out the incorrect information and write the correct information).
- Write your initials in the margin of the page beside the line you have corrected. The lawyer or notary will put their initials there too. Repeat until you have corrected all errors.
- The notary or lawyer will then have to re-swear your affidavit, which just means that you'll have to give your oath that the corrected affidavit is true and sign the affidavit again, below your old signature, and the lawyer or notary will sign the affidavit again.
This will not be appropriate for all mistakes. You can fix a number, change an "I did" to an "I did not," fix a misspelling, or even delete a whole paragraph. It is not appropriate to fix major mistakes about important facts and claims. To fix those, you really should prepare a new affidavit to explain yourself.
Fixing important information
If you've made a major error in an affidavit that's already been sworn, you must prepare a whole new affidavit to explain why you've changed your evidence and what your mistake was.
In this example, the first two paragraphs introduce the new affidavit and explain why it is being made. Paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 show how different types of mistake could be corrected. The last paragraph confirms, with the exception of the corrected information, that the balance of the earlier affidavit is true.
1. I am the Claimant in this matter, and as such have personal knowledge of the facts hereinafter deposed to. 2. I make this my affidavit to correct certain evidence given in my second affidavit, sworn in this matter on 1 April 2016 (the "Second Affidavit"). 3. At paragraph 12 of the Second Affidavit, I discuss how the Respondent and I bought the green filing cabinet. I have had the chance to give further thought to this purchase, and I now recall that it was a black filing cabinet and that it had four drawers, not three. I was mistaken with respect to these two facts in the Second Affidavit. 4. At paragraph 15 of the Second Affidavit, I state that the Respondent was late in picking the children up from school on 1 April 2009. Since I made the Second Affidavit, I have had the chance to review my calendar and refresh my memory, and I realize that the Defendant was not late in picking the children up that day. 5. At paragraph 18 of the Second Affidavit, I state that the Respondent has two cars. I have read the Respondent's third affidavit, sworn in this matter on 12 April 2016, and I admit that the Respondent is correct when he says that he has but one car. The evidence I gave in the Second Affidavit on this point was incorrect. I had forgotten that the Defendant sold the Ford Pinto in 2006.
...and so on. Finish with this:
13. In all other respects, the evidence given by me in the Second Affidavit is true and accurate.
You must be careful about correcting major mistakes, especially those that are important to a claim you or your former spouse are making. Too many corrections may make you look sloppy and careless, and could possibly undermine your credibility. The best way to avoid problems like this is to ensure that each affidavit you make is as accurate as possible before you swear it.
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Megan Ellis, QC, June 10, 2019.|
|JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|
Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court," and "Supreme Court of Canada."
A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court, and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a family court proceeding. The Family Court of the Provincial Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."
A legal document in which a person provides evidence of certain facts and events in writing. The person making the affidavit, the deponent, must confirm the affidavit evidence is true by oath or affirmation. Affidavits must be signed in front of a lawyer, a notary public or a commissioner for taking oaths, who takes the oath or affirmation of the deponent. Affidavits are used as evidence, just as if the person making the affidavit had made the statements as a witness. See "deponent", "affirm" and "witness."
A legal proceeding in which one party sues another for a specific remedy or relief, also called an "action," a "lawsuit," or a "case." A court proceeding for divorce, for example, is a proceeding in which the claimant sues the respondent for the relief of a divorce order.
Facts or proof of facts presented to a judge at a hearing or trial. Evidence can be given through the oral testimony of witnesses, in writing as business records and other documents, or in the form of physical objects. Evidence must be admissible according to the rules of court and the rules of evidence. See "circumstantial evidence," "hearsay," and "testimony."
A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor."
A person authorized to administer affirmations and oaths, and to execute or certify documents. All lawyers are notaries public in addition to being barristers and solicitors. See "barrister and solicitor.”
In law, a guarantee of the truth of a statement secured by one's faith in a god, and the prospect of torment in the afterlife in the event the promise is falsely made. Someone making an affidavit will often give their evidence in that affidavit under oath; a witness giving oral evidence will often give their evidence in court under oath. See "affidavit," "affirm," "perjury," and "witness."
In law, an unintentional act or failure to act arising from a misunderstanding of the true state of affairs, from ignorance, or from an error not made in bad faith. In contract law, an unintentional misunderstanding as to the nature of a term agreed to in a contract. See "bad faith" and "contract."
In law, the re-examination of a term of an order or agreement, usually to determine whether the term remains fair and appropriate in light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of the review. In family law, particularly the review of an order or agreement provided for the payment of spousal support. See "de novo," "family law agreements," "order," and "spousal support."
The assertion of a legal right to an order or to a thing; the remedy or relief sought by a party to a court proceeding.
Under the Divorce Act, either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the Family Law Act, married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship."