If you find yourself in the middle of a contested divorce, you are likely going to have to put up a fight for what you want when it comes to the division of marital assets, child custody and support, and alimony. And when you are in a fight in court, it is necessary to provide admissible evidence to support your arguments. So what is considered admissible in court?
You and any other witnesses that may be used to support your case will have to provide testimony in open court. Hearsay is not admissible in court, which means that you cannot testify to what someone else told you unless it is your spouse. If your spouse said something damaging to someone else and that person told you about it, you generally cannot use that as evidence; the person your spouse talked to would have to testify as to what was said to him or her.
Your financial records — including bank statements, tax returns, W-2’s, paystubs, investment and retirement account statements, credit card statements, etc. — are freely exchanged between spouses during marriage, but can become problematic to obtain from your spouse during divorce. If you have access to these marital documents, preserve them in a safe place.
If you are requesting alimony, you will need to provide bank and tax records showing income and expenditures. If you are fighting for custody, you may need to provide documents like school or medical records that show you have been the primary caregiver. If you believe your spouse has hidden assets, you will need to provide documentation to support that claim.
Photos are admissible as long as you are able to authenticate them — when the photo was taken, where it was taken, and that it is an accurate representation of the subject or event it depicts. Photos are typically used in situations where domestic violence is a factor, but can also be used to prove a host of other bad behaviors: destruction of property, substance abuse, infidelity, and more.
Phone records obtained from service providers only provide phone numbers and times when texts were sent, not the content of the messages. If you have received damaging text messages from your spouse, you should take screen shots of them and email them to yourself or your attorney to preserve as evidence.
Social media posts.
During a divorce, people sometimes post information on their social media pages that can harm their case. Be sure to refrain from posting anything that could be harmful to your case during your divorce, and if your spouse is not as careful as you are and you come across something useful, be sure to preserve it (screen shot or download).
You can rely on Murphy & Cistaro to skillfully negotiate and mediate your issues to a satisfactory resolution. Should the need arise, you can also count on our experience for being aggressive litigators if the situation calls for a more assertive response. Contact us today for your free consultation.