No one goes into a marriage expecting to end up in divorce court, but sometimes it’s best to part ways and move forward on a new path. In the best-case scenario, spouses agree to part amicably and then draft their settlement agreement and parenting schedule out of court with the help of lawyers and mediation. This results in an uncontested divorce and streamlines the process. Sadly, this is the exception rather than the rule.
Contested divorces are more common in Colorado and elsewhere in the U.S. Emotions run high in divorce cases when so much is at stake, including child custody, support, and the division of marital assets.
When a divorce case comes to court and a judge must make life-altering decisions for both spouses, it’s important to have tangible evidence supporting your claims and strengthening your case.
Your Denver divorce attorney is the best ally in identifying what evidence is admissible in a divorce hearing, but having a basic understanding of evidence in Colorado divorce cases can help.
Financial evidence is essential to support your position in court not only for the equitable division of your marital assets but also when you’re seeking child support and/or spousal maintenance, or your spouse is seeking support from you. Financial evidence in divorce cases includes:
- Tax forms and pay stubs
- Bank records
- Investment and retirement account records
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage statements or rental agreements
- Evidence of monthly expenses including daycare and child education costs
- Insurance information
Your attorney may suggest other forms of financial documentation to support your side of contested financial issues. The rules of disclosure in Colorado also give you and your attorney full access to your spouse’s financial disclosure as well as the right to request further documents from a spouse.
When it comes to child custody battles, character evidence is essential. In Colorado, seeking primary custody or the majority of parenting time requires proving to the court that it’s in the child’s best interest. In some cases, it may also include showing why custody with the other parent is not in the child’s best interest. Evidence for these contentious issues could include:
- Witness testimony by someone with first-hand experience with one or both parents
- Text messages
- Screenshots of social media posts
- Voicemail or answering machine recordings
It’s important to note that secret recordings are not admissible in court, but voicemail recordings are admissible as evidence because the individual leaving the message knows they’re being recorded and therefore does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Other Types of Evidence Used in Divorce Cases
Spousal support (alimony) is another commonly contentious matter that comes before a judge in divorce courts in Colorado. Often one spouse believes the support-seeking spouse is fully capable of being self-supporting. Evidence for this type of divorce issue sometimes includes the following:
- A copy of your spouse’s resume or other documents such as degrees and certifications, past employment records, and employee evaluations
- Expert testimony from a vocational evaluator about the types of jobs the spouse could obtain to become fully self-supporting
Other evidence sometimes admitted in divorce cases could include police reports if a spouse engaged in illegal activity or domestic abuse.
Besides learning what types of evidence is useful and admissible in divorce cases, it’s also important to ask your attorney about the process used to enter each type of evidence under the Colorado Rules of Evidence law. You must show the court that each document or piece of digital evidence is authentic, admissible, and relevant to the case.