When going through divorce proceedings, you can call witnesses to testify. Doing so can bring clarity to key points and provide further information, ultimately helping to seek a more favorable resolution. Knowing the right steps to take when calling witnesses is important, as giving them advance notice and discussing potential questions can allow them to prepare better. Still, although witnesses can help your case, you might not need to ask someone to speak on your behalf if other forms of evidence can help prove your points.
Overview of Divorce Proceedings in California
Going through a divorce is already a difficult process. It can become even more so if you and your spouse can’t agree on certain matters. When that happens, you can ask for a trial. Here, the judge will listen to your arguments and your spouse's to decide how issues should be settled.
Although the testimony you and your spouse provided is important during the process, evidence also plays a vital role in reaching settlements. Evidence does not only come in physical forms. It can also include testimony from witnesses.
When Can Witnesses Be Called in a Divorce?
Witnesses can be a great asset in a divorce, especially when one spouse makes certain points disputed by the other. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, witnesses may help support your positions or refute something your spouse is alleging.
Generally, you only need to call witnesses if you and your spouse have different views about something and are trying to convince a judge that your position is correct. If you have an uncontested divorce, where you and your spouse agree on resolutions, you typically do not need witnesses.
The Benefits of Calling Witnesses
Calling witnesses can make a huge difference in your case. They can provide crucial information that can help establish your side of the story and speak to your character, painting a picture to the court of your morals, ethics, and responsibility.
Having a witness testify on your behalf is beneficial only if their statements allow you to better prove your points. Before asking someone to appear in court for you, it is important to carefully evaluate the elements in dispute and research applicable law to explain why the judge should decide in your favor.
Witnesses can add additional credibility to your argument by giving testimony that will corroborate your side of the story or refute contentions made by your spouse.
Keep in mind that when you call a witness, they can be questioned by your attorney as well as your spouse (or their attorney). Thus, it’s essential to consider whether it’s appropriate for someone to serve as a witness for you.
Steps to Take When Calling Witnesses
Having a witness testify on your behalf can be helpful to your case. Still, you must ensure that they are ready to speak in court for you.
If you want someone to serve as your witness, be sure to ask them far in advance to give them time to prepare. Also, you’ll want to let them know what questions you or your attorney might ask them. It is also a good idea to discuss with your witness potential questions they could face from your spouse (or their attorney).
While most witnesses will show up for you if asked, some might be hesitant. If you don’t think a witness will appear, you can ask the court to issue a subpoena. A subpoena is a legal document compelling a person to go to court on a specific date to provide testimony or other evidence.
Alternatives to Calling Witnesses
Having someone testify on your behalf during divorce proceedings might not be necessary. You can use various pieces of evidence to support your claims beyond oral testimony.
For instance, you might consider submitting the following:
- Financial statements,
- Photographs, or
- Emails and texts to back up your allegations.
Additionally, recent social media activity or police reports may help establish certain facts.
Get Legal Representation for Your Case
A family law attorney can help navigate the complicated tasks of gathering evidence and calling witnesses for your divorce. They will have the experience and knowledge to know what steps are needed to get the necessary information or ensure that people appear in court to testify. With the help of a professional, your chances of pursuing a favorable outcome can increase.Speak with one of our Los Angeles attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP by contacting us at (310) 817-6904.