San Jose Divorce Attorney Discusses Testimony in Divorce Proceedings
Last year the California Supreme Court held that the Contra Costa County Superior Court violated state law with a rule that prohibited people in divorce trials from presenting oral testimony.
This ruling was a consequence of a case brought to the Court by Jeffrey Elkins. Elkins, a Danville business consultant, challenged the county court’s rule that required evidence to be submitted exclusively by written declaration, except in unusual circumstances. The Contra Costa Court established its rule prohibiting oral testimony as a means to speed along cases in its family law division, arguing that trying every single family law case with oral testimony would heavily burden the court.
Elkins, who represented himself in his divorce, claimed that the rule resulted in the court awarding all assets to his ex-wife because all but two pieces of evidence he wanted to present at his 2005 hearing were discounted by the court. The Supreme Court said the Elkins case “highlights the unusual burdens and restrictions that have been imposed on family law litigants at the local level in response to increasing case loads and limited judicial resources.”
This ruling has changed the way Contra Costa County Superior Court does business. Local procedures have changed, allowing oral testimony, in addition to written declarations, for requesting parties. This is significant because it lowers the threshold for litigants to get evidence into the courtroom, allowing them to make their claims without excessive procedural burdens.
If you have a question regarding divorce proceedings, please contact our office for a free consultation. Our team of Family Law Attorneys can assist you with all aspects of your divorce. We have attorneys in San Mateo, Monterey, Fremont, Salinas, and San Jose.