What Can Be Used as Evidence in a Divorce Case?

Posted in Divorce on November 29, 2021

Most divorce cases in California achieve settlements, or pretrial agreements between both spouses. Some, however, require divorce trials, where both parties will have the chance to present evidence to the courts in an attempt to secure the outcome that they desire. Use this list of potential sources of evidence in a divorce case to learn what may be available to strengthen your case, as well as what your ex-spouse could use against you.

Financial Documents

A major part of a divorce case in California is the couple’s finances. The courts will analyze each spouse’s income and financial capabilities to determine things such as child support and spousal maintenance (alimony). Each spouse will need to submit initial financial disclosures, where they list every known asset, source of income and debt and submit it to the courts. Beyond this, your divorce case may also require other sources of financial evidence, such as tax documents, pay stubs, receipts for childcare expenses, employment records, and more.

Proof of Your Parenting Style

A key point of contention in most divorce trials is child custody. There are many types of evidence that you could use during a custody battle, either to prove your abilities as a parent or show that your ex-spouse is not a good fit for sole or primary custody. You may need evidence that shows that you are an involved and capable caregiver to minor children, such as documentation of your involvement with the child’s daily care, food preparation, school and activities.

Character Witness Statements

Character evidence can be used to support one party’s case. Testimony or signed statements from character witnesses can allow a judge to get a better idea of who the individual is and how he or she interacts with the children. If you wish to use character witnesses, however, make sure that their testimony uses specific examples. Simply stating that you are a good parent is not as strong as recounting specific examples of when the person witnessed you be a good parent to your child.

Social Media Activity

Many people don’t realize that anything posted on a social media site – even if the profile is set to private – can be used as evidence during a divorce proceeding. Since social media is a public space, anything published there could be admissible as evidence in court. This is why it is important to stay off of social media while your divorce case is pending. Anything that you post online could be twisted around and used against you by your spouse’s attorney.

Text Messages and Digital Records

Text messages can also be used as evidence. Keep text messages between you and your ex-spouse as potential sources of evidence during your divorce case. Private messages on any platform may be admissible as evidence if there is a reason to subpoena these records, such as one spouse trying to prove that the other is addicted to drugs or trying to hide assets.

Criminal Records and Police Reports

In a divorce case involving child abuse, child neglect, domestic violence or substance abuse – or allegations thereof – one spouse may need to use criminal and police records as evidence. In divorce law, even allegations against a person for domestic violence or child abuse could play a role in how the courts determine important matters such as child custody. 

You may need to use records from the police department or Child Protective Services to show that your ex-spouse could present a danger to your child in a case involving these crimes. If you wish to show that your ex-spouse is an alcoholic, for example, you may need to use tangible evidence to prove this, such as photographs, videos, digital evidence, DUI records or signed statements from people who have witnessed this.

Consult With an Attorney in Solana Beach

For more information about the evidence that may be used during the divorce case in California, discuss your proceeding with an attorney at Ratzer|Dobis. A lawyer can help you gather evidence to build and strengthen your divorce case.