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Documentation and Evidence Needed for Contested San Diego Child Custody Cases for Paternity, Divorce or Legal Separation: 2011

In San Diego, during a divorce, legal separation or paternity case, there can be contested issues of child custody and/or child visitation. It is very important, for your legal separation, divorce or paternity case, to document child custody and/or child visitation issues. What documents should be submitted to the Judge at a contested hearing depends on the case but there are some which have been used with frequency: school records showing which parent attended PTA and dropped off and picked up children; medical records showing which parent took the children to the doctor; dental records showing which parent took the child to the dentist; photographs showing any domestic violence; police reports; conviction of crime records; e mails; texts and many others. If you are in a contested hearing in San Diego on a legal separation, divorce or paternity case, it is important to document your position with evidence which is outside of your oral testimony. With all respect, Judge’s may not believe you even if you are telling the trust and having independent verification of your position is very important. Witnesses can also be very persuasive to a Judge. In San Diego, there are local rules governing how documentation and evidence can be submitted to the Court and this needs to be strictly followed.

Documentation can consist of almost any document which is relevant to the issue of custody and visitation for the paternity, divorce or legal separation. The document can be official {such as a police report or a court document from another court case such as a divorce, legal separation or paternity} or can be unofficial such as photographs, diagrams, emails or texts. Given the rules of evidence in San Diego Superior Court, it is crucial that, when you submit your documents, the Judge rules that they are admissible in court. Many have heard the objection “hearsay” to keep out testimony or a document from being considered by the Judge. There are many other objections, however, which are less well known such as lacks foundation, speculation, more prejudicial than probative and others. You can have the best documentation in the world but, if the Judge rules it is not admissible and will not consider, then it has no legal weight.

Evidence can be direct or indirect evidence. Direct evidence is that which directly proves the position. Indirect evidence is that from which an inference can be drawn. Live witness testimony of a domestic violence assault is direct evidence. A police report of previous domestic violence used for the inference that the spouse is a batterer or that domestic violence is an issue in the current case is indirect evidence. Neither direct nor indirect evidence is entitled to any greater weight by the Judge but the more direct evidence, the better.

If you have questions regarding evidence and/or documents for your contested child custody case, please feel free to contact us for a confidential consultation.

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