Understanding Hearsay in Child Welfare Cases

Understanding Hearsay in Child Welfare CasesWhat’s the Official Word?

Broadly defined, hearsay is a statement made outside of court. Examples of hearsay include informal conversations between parties in a case or with witnesses, statements made to law enforcement and certain electronic communications.

Typically, hearsay isn’t admissible as evidence in a trial. But, sometimes statements made out of the courtroom can be extremely valuable in cases where material facts are lacking, or witnesses are unavailable for testimony. In these cases, statements usually considered hearsay may be used in a trial to supplement the material evidence.

Many types of statements can be excluded from the hearsay rule and used in a trial, including:

  • Prior statements made by competent witnesses (if they would be considered testimony if given in court)
  • Statement by a party to the case
  • Statements not dependent on the declarant’s availability (such as statements or utterances made at or around the time of the incident or event or certain public records

It is important to remember these types of statements must meet several qualifications to be used as testimony in a case. These rules are complicated, so you should speak with an attorney about using such statements in your case. An attorney can advise you on what kinds of statements can be admitted as evidence in your case. In a child welfare case, hearsay such as a recorded 911 call or prior statements made to witnesses can help present a clearer picture of the allegations against the offending parent. In cases where there are allegations of neglect or ongoing abuse, hearsay statements made over periods of time could be used in a trial if they are needed to support the material evidence.

Statements made out of the court, while sometimes considered hearsay, can prove to be invaluable evidence in child welfare litigation. If you have questions about hearsay or evidence in your child welfare case, you should consult with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. Navigating the case process can be difficult, and parents aren’t always given the guidance they need to make educated decisions in their cases. Likewise, parents are sometimes denied access to important pieces of information, and this can hinder their defense. A skilled attorney can help you understand how certain statements could play a role in your case and what kind of evidence is being used. An attorney can also help you challenge the use of certain pieces of evidence.

Do you have questions about child welfare litigation? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help you through your case step by step and will defend your rights. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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