Document Requirements

Documents Under Oath

Sometimes when you file a motion or a response to a motion with the court, you may say things that the court does not yet know. The statement you are making may have never been mentioned in any papers filed with court, nor been mentioned in any of the other court proceedings. 

When this occurs, Maryland law says that you have to file an affidavit along with your motion or response. An affidavit is a document used to support the new information that you are sharing with the court.  You must sign an affidavit and say that you swear (or affirm) under the penalties of perjury that what you are saying is true.

Sometimes you may also have to attach documents such as letters or school or medical records to your motion or your response to show that what you are saying is true.  When you attach these additional documents, you have to state in your affidavit that the documents you are sending are genuine and not altered in any way. It is helpful if you can produce certified copies of the documents to submit to the court.

Certified Documents

For school or medical records, you can ask the records clerk at the school or hospital to certify your records. Generally, there is a small fee for certification. The certification process usually consists of the official record keeper for the institution stamping the document to show that the document is a true and complete copy of the original. This may take anywhere from 1 to 14 days, so make sure you give yourself enough time to get the certified records.

If you plan on using any letters to support your case, it is preferable if you could find the originals.  Having certified, return receipts for the letters would be even better for your case. You may still use copies, but if you do, make sure you state in your affidavit that the copies are not altered in any way. You should also explain in your affidavit why you do not have certified or original copies of the documents and what you have done to try and get the originals.

Edits by Regina Strait, Esq.
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – © Maryland State Law Library, 2019.”