HEARSAY IN THE DIVORCE COURT

KARI COOK, March 25, 2019

In everyday life, it is quite normal to repeat things you have heard or learned from the people around you. Whether it be a current event, a funny story, or something someone did, either good or bad, we often pass on information we hear from friends, neighbors and co-workers. So why can’t these testimonials or hearsay as it is called, be used in court proceeding for divorce?

HEARSAY RULE

Well, the answer is quite complicated, in fact, there are entire law courses on the subject of hearsay rule, but to put it simply, alleged facts cannot be examined or investigated in court. This is because the person sharing hearsay has only heard about the alleged facts, but has not witnessed them, nor do they have evidence.

Therefore in court, it is not fair to admit these statements with no evidence. Our legal system requires evidence that judges and juries can make informed decisions upon, and not hearsay, “he said, she said” banter, or gossip (Wodjacz, 2009)

FAMILY LAW & HEARSAY

In family law, hearsay rules have many exceptions and specific applications because often times hearsay
accusations, and written statements from friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers can go on and on in this “he said, she said” battle in attempts to sway a judge in favor of one parent’s cause vs another.

While often times these hearsay statements are excluded by judges, there are certain exceptions and situations where these testimonies are vital to custody cases in the matters of domestic violence or child
endangerment.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT

It is extremely important for parents who are making a case of domestic violence, personal protection order, or child endangerment hire lawyers that have a detailed understanding of hearsay rules in divorce court. More information on this subject can be found here and communication tools for these high conflict, domestic violence and PPO cases can be utilized through Civil Communicator.

With Civil Communicator, we understand that we cannot apply the hearsay rules in the same manner as in a courtroom setting because in many cases it would be very frustrating to our subscribers and very difficult to discuss important topics if the hearsay rule were strictly applied. We understand that as co-parents, our subscribers hear many things from their children, some of which are inevitably of concern.

When we can, we encourage these often touchy subjects to be approached in a manner that doesn’t throw the child “under the bus” or assume certain information, but rather open a conversation about the topic in a civil manner to see if the other parent is aware of the issue.
Civil Communicator offers web-based conflict resolution tools and resources designed to move you forward and provide support during a difficult divorce.

Contact Us today to speak with our support staff, so we can get you the help and tools you need. We understand that going through a difficult divorce is hard, life-changing, and emotionally draining, just know you are not alone and we are here to help.

REFERENCE LIST
FindLaw. Hearsay Evidence. [Web Article]. Retrieved from
https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/hearsay-evidence.html
M. Wodjacz. (2009). Objection: Hearsay! What is the hearsay rule, and what are the exceptions to it?
[Web Article]. Retrieved
from https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/objection-hearsay-what-is-the-hearsay-rule-and-what-are-th
e-exceptions-to-it