Superior Court of California: Basic Declaration
No matter the nature of your case, ranging from family law to criminal persecution, the State of California Superior Court’s Basic Declaration form is useful. A Basic Declaration is simply a written document in which the author describes a situation he or she believes to be true, but the statements are written without the author being sworn in by a court officer.
On the other hand, an Affidavit is a written statement attached to an oath or some affirmation that the statements in the affidavit are true, usually verified by a notary public. Even though you won’t write your declaration while being sworn under oath, all its contents are still under the penalty of perjury, and the court views both affidavits and declarations legally equivalent.
Luckily, the courts of California have published a handy guide to walk you step by step through the process of filling out your declaration. Here’s a good place to start.
“First, identify your issues. Your “declaration” is your story to the judge. You will probably not be given the time to say much to the judge when you go to court. You must therefore write everything you want to say to the judge here in your declaration. To begin, you first need to identify what are the issues that you want decided by the court, for example, new custody orders or a change in the parenting schedule or the lowering of child support. You will need to write something in your declaration on each issue area. You are supplying here the proof for what you are asking the judge to decide.”