Frequently, couples who wish to end their marriages will have opposing views on how property ownership, equitable distribution, custody, and other matters should be resolved. Thus, they will typically present evidence regarding their respective positions to aid the courts in determining what constitutes a fair outcome. Not all evidence is permitted, however, and the courts will usually disregard out-of-court statements as inadmissible hearsay. There are some hearsay exceptions, though, that allow the courts to consider evidence that would otherwise be barred. If you or your spouse are considering dissolving your marriage, it is wise to speak to an attorney to determine your options for seeking a just result. The assertive Dallas divorce lawyers of McClure Law Group can assess the facts of your case and gather the evidence needed to help you fight to protect your interests.Texas Rules Regarding Hearsay
The Texas Rules of Evidence (the Rules) specifically prohibit parties from introducing hearsay. As defined by the Rules, any statement made outside of a hearing or trial that a party offers into evidence as proof of the matter asserted in the statement is considered hearsay. In other words, if a husband testifies at trial that a babysitter advised him that his wife was having an affair, the court will likely deem the statement hearsay. Notably, statements do not have to be oral, as the definition of statements under the Rules includes written expressions or nonverbal conduct.Hearsay Exceptions in Family Law Cases
While the Rules generally preclude hearsay, there are hearsay exceptions. For example, present sense impressions, which are statements explaining an event in real-time or immediately after, and excited utterances, statements about an event that were made when the person was excited or stressed over the event, are exceptions to the rule against hearsay. A party’s recorded recollection on an issue is an exception to the rule as well and will often be admitted to contradict a party’s current position.
In many divorce actions, parties will seek to introduce evidence of their spouses’ prior proclamations against them. This may be allowed under the statements against interest exception. A statement against interest is one that a reasonable party would only have made if it was true because it was adverse to the person’s interest, made the person the subject of ridicule or disgrace, or subjected him or her to criminal or civil liability.
While statements asserted in documents and other records are often considered hearsay, in many divorce matters, the courts will find that they fall under an exception and admit them. For example, business records are often admitted as an exception to the rule against hearsay. In order to fall under the exception, the records must have been kept and incorporated in the regular course of business, the business must reasonably rely on the accuracy of such records, and the circumstances must indicate that the documents are trustworthy. Business records are often offered into evidence in divorce matters in which the parties disagree over income, the value of a business or property, or expenditures. Similarly, records or documents that indicate a party’s interest in property may be admissible as an exception to hearsay as well, in matters in which a couple disputes whether an asset is separate or marital property.Meet With a Trusted Attorney in Dallas
In many divorce matters, the parties will offer conflicting testimony, and it is important for people considering ending their marriages to understand what evidence is admissible in support of their claims. If you wish to seek a divorce or were recently served with divorce papers, you should meet with a lawyer to evaluate your rights. The trusted attorneys of McClure Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable results, and if we represent you, we will develop compelling arguments in your favor. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are also available for consultations with clients at our Collin County office in Plano. We regularly represent people in divorce cases in Dallas, Frisco, McKinney, Irving, Richardson, Rockwall, Fort Worth, and Garland. We also aid parties in family law matters in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or via our online form to set up a meeting.