During a divorce, it's certainly not unheard of for one spouse to question the other spouse's fitness as a partner or a parent. In situations like this, a character witness can be helpful in establishing the accused spouse's moral and ethical integrity. But before enlisting the support of a witness in a family law matter, there are some important things to be aware of; below, a few of these considerations are discussed in more detail.
Your Guide to Using a Witness in a Divorce
What’s the Purpose?
The goal of having a character witness in any type of family law case is to attest to the uprightness and responsibility of one of the litigants. This individual swears that the litigant has strong ethical boundaries, upstanding personal qualities, and is of fine character. A witness takes an oath to tell the truth, and their testimony is entered into the record as evidence in the case.
Who Can Benefit From a Witness?
There are specific family law situations in which a character witness' testimony can be especially beneficial. Most often, witnesses are utilized in child custody disputes, where one partner has accused the other partner of being somehow unfit. In divorces where fault must be proven, one spouse might level a charge of infidelity or other morally questionable behavior against the other spouse, and a witness can help affirm the accused spouse's character and position.
Who Can Be a Witness?
Most often, character witnesses are family members or friends of the litigant. In certain jurisdictions, a family member cannot serve as a character witness, so check with your divorce attorney or county courthouse to see if your area has guidelines about who can and cannot provide testimony. Generally, however, a family member is going to be assumed to possess biases in your favor, so it may be better for your case to instead choose a friend or coworker. Select someone you've known for a significant period, and be certain they have the necessary integrity to give honest testimony in a legal case.
By understanding some basics of character witnesses in a divorce, you can make sound legal decisions for your family and future. For quality legal guidance at any stage of a divorce, trust The Law Office of Christopher J. Swatosh. For more than 20 years, he has been representing clients in Douglas County, Missouri, in bankruptcy, personal injury, criminal, and family law cases. Call (417) 683-2987 or visit him online to schedule an initial consultation.