California’s Superior Court defines family court as “designed to resolve disagreements arising from divorce and legal separation, including provisions for the care of children.” In your family law case, you might be asking yourself what evidence types can help you resolve these disagreements.
This blog will provide guidance on what evidence can and cannot be admitted in family court.
The Evidence Code and Family Law
The Evidence Code, enacted by the California Legislature in May of 1965, serves to formally codify the law of evidence in California. The idea is to create a formal set of guidelines that govern the proof of facts in a court case.
A Los Angeles family law attorney that is well-versed in the Evidence Code ensures that evidence that would undermine their case stays out of the courtroom.
The Evidence Code requires that evidence meet the following criteria to be admissible in court:
- No Hearsay
- Not in Evidentiary Privilege
If the evidence meets the above criteria, then it could be admitted in a family court proceeding.
Types of Evidence Admissible During a Family Law Case
If the evidence meets the above standard, the following could be admitted in a family court case as evidence:
- Fact, Expert or Character Witnesses
- Journals and Letters
- School and Medical Records
- Criminal and Police Records
- Financial Records
- Social Media Posts
- Text Messages and Emails
- Calendar Entries
- Recordings with Two-Party Consent
Types of Cases Heard in Family Court and Examples of Admissible Evidence
Spousal Support, Alimony, and Child Support
Child support seeks financial support from the parent who doesn’t provide primary custody to help with raising the child. Spousal support seeks to give one party economic support, which is different than the division of marital property.
Examples of evidence used in these cases: pay stubs and tax documents for each parent.
Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements
Child custody and visitation seeks to formally arrange which parent should receive primary custody of a minor child.
Examples of evidence used in these cases: a well-documented and maintained calendar that recounts your child’s activities or missed parenting time.
Property, Debt, and Asset Division
Property, debt, and asset division cases seek to divide the joint assets fairly across separating parties.
Example of admissible evidence used in these cases: financial statements for each parent, which includes assets, source of income, and debts.
Marriage, Divorce, and Domestic Partnership Dissolution
Divorce and dissolution tend to be used interchangeably, but they have different legal meanings. In California, the official legal term is “dissolution of marriage,” which has been used since 1970, meaning a legal separation on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or insanity.
Example of admissible evidence used in these cases: criminal or police records.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Domestic violence can be considered a criminal or civil case. If a victim chooses to pursue a civil case, it can be tried in family court.
Example of admissible evidence used these cases: photographs of the victim’s injuries after alleged assault.