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What Kind Of Evidence Can Help With My Contested Divorce?

woman gathering evidence for divorce case

Unless you and your spouse are in agreement on every single issue related to the dissolution of marriage, you will likely be going through the Texas contested divorce process with respect to some matters. In many ways, this means the proceedings will be similar to a fully-contested trial. Both sides will have the opportunity to present arguments and information regarding their respective positions on divorce-related issues. As a result, the evidence is critical as leverage and for achieving your goals on property division, support, and issues pertaining to minor children.

However, even when you know the crucial role evidence plays in divorce disputes, you might wonder what types of information may help your position. Some of the details may be within your knowledge or possession, so you want to make sure your Texas contested divorce attorney has access to all relevant resources. An overview of the evidence in contested divorce cases should be helpful.

Types Of Evidence In Texas Divorce Cases

Initially, it is important to understand the different forms of evidence that may be introduced in a contested divorce proceeding.

  • >Written Evidence: This category includes any documentation that is available in paper or electronic format, which a party will typically provide to an attorney before filing for divorce or early on in the process. Written evidence may also enter a divorce case through discovery, including interrogatories and requests for documents.
  • Oral Evidence: Any information that comes through the spoken word constitutes oral evidence, such as the testimony of either party, witnesses, experts, and others who are called to the stand. In addition, statements made in connection with a deposition are also oral evidence, though the transcript itself is on paper.

According to the Texas Rules of Evidence, all written and oral evidence is admissible as long as it is relevant and does not contravene some other federal or state law.

How Evidence Fits into a Contested Divorce Case

Based on the above descriptions of different types of evidence, you can see how this information will play a role in the key issues in a contested divorce.

Property Division: The initial question in this area is whether assets were acquired during the marriage, in which case it is considered community property and subject to equitable distribution. Separate property owned before getting married, gifts, and inheritances belong to the respective spouse. Community property will be divided in the interests of fairness in a contested divorce. Therefore, evidence regarding ownership of an asset, when it was acquired, and its value is important.

Spousal Support: A judge will consider whether post-divorce spousal support is appropriate, what type of spousal support best suits the situation and the amount to be paid by the payor spouse. As such, information on the following topics may be useful:

  • Income and wages;
  • The lower-earning spouse’s education and employment potential;
  • History regarding one spouse staying out of the workforce to contribute to the household and children;
  • The opportunities a spouse gave up to support the other through educational or employment endeavors.

Issues Related to Minor Children

A judge applies the factors related to the child’s best interests to determine custody and visitation arrangements. Evidence is important as it relates to:

  • The mental and physical fitness of each parent;
  • The child’s current and future needs;
  • Potential for abuse, violence, or other dangers to the child;
  • The stability of the proposed residential arrangement; and,
  • Other factors listed in the Texas statute.

For purposes of determining child support, evidence regarding the parents’ income and assets will be central in applying Texas’ child support guidelines.

Evidence For Different Divorce Strategies

While you might believe that all contested divorces must go through litigation, it may be possible to reach an agreement on some issues. Evidence plays an important role in negotiations, as parties may be more willing to compromise when they see the bigger picture. For those issues that must go to a hearing or final trial, written evidence will be introduced as exhibits and oral evidence is presented through a party’s testimony. The judge reviews all evidence applies Texas laws to the facts and enters a ruling at the conclusion of the proceeding.

A Texas Contested Divorce Lawyer Can Provide Additional Details On Evidence

Evidence is essential to support your position if you are going through a contested divorce, but it is equally important to retain skilled legal representation to represent you throughout the proceedings. At The Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our team is well-versed in how various forms of written and oral evidence will benefit your case. For more information, please contact our office to set up a consultation with a contested divorce attorney who can explain in more detail.