What is “Burden of Proof” and Why Does It Matter In My Divorce?

Civil cases have many rules and procedures.  Family law cases are no exception to this, and when seeking a divorce, understanding these rules can be the difference between an efficient and easy uncontested divorce or having to return to court several times to receive a final hearing.  For example, making sure the other party has been properly served with the initial divorce pleadings is an absolute necessity to moving your case forward.  Another key component to your divorce is the “burden of proof.”

“Burden of proof” is a legal term that refers to who is responsible for proving the allegations.  A burden of proof in a divorce case is “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that the party making an allegation will have the responsibility to prove to the judge that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim or allegation is actually true.  Note that this is very different from the burden of proof in criminal cases, which is much higher at “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

If you are involved in a divorce, it is important to keep the burden of proof in mind.  Neither you nor the other side will be required to produce absolute proof that a particular fact is true.  Instead, you will only need to present proof that convinces a judge that a fact or allegation is probably true.  A judge can rely on many sources of evidence when trying to decide which party’s claims are accurate, including the parties’ demeanors and the totality of the evidence.  When going into a divorce, many litigants are concerned that they “only” have their own testimony to support specific allegations.   However, a judge can absolutely determine that one person’s testimony is sufficient to meet the burden of proof.  Supporting evidence is always helpful, but you should not let the fact that you do not have a written admission or audio recording from your soon to be former spouse dissuade you from moving forward.  Remember, however, that the same rules apply to your spouse. Parties should also keep in mind that the same burden of proof applies to all the issues in the divorce.  In other words, regardless of whether your main concern is division of property or a contentious custody dispute, the court will still apply the “preponderance of the evidence” standard to each allegation and issue.

We have extensive experience with divorce and are very familiar with the type of evidence required to help our clients attain their goals.  Contact us today and let us talk with you about your divorce and how we can help you move forward.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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