How to present evidence in a Family Law hearing properly Pro Se

Asked about 4 years ago - Napa, CA

How do you present the following items effectively as possible the first time around to a judge when one has to represent themselves as there is no financial available to hire an attorney? i.e Documents, medical records and reports, witness written statements, financial items etc.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Robert Harlan Stempler

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Whether the judge admits any or all of these items, will depend on what information the documents contain, whether they can be properly authenticated, if the witnesses who signed them are available or unavailable to testify, and if there is a sound relation between the documents being offered and the facts that are relevant to the issues that are being heard or tried to the court. Offering admissible evidence can be a challenge even for seasoned lawyers. Documentary evidence is among the most difficult type of evidence to be admitted. You should hire a lawyer if the amount at issue is significant or important family issues are at stake.

  2. Frederic March Douglas

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . The easiest way is to get the other side to agree to the admissibility of your evidence, in advance. They might have the same problem. Cutting a deal will make it easier for the judge to approve the entry of your evidence. Also, inform the judge in advance of what you want to admit and why. Make an "exhibit list." In a table, list a description of the item, the date of the item, and the reason for why you believe that the item should be admitted. Also indicate whether the opposing side objects to that piece of evidence.

    If the document is a certifeid copy of a government document, you might have an easier time getting it admitted.

    As far as "witness written statements", you are making a common rookie misunderstanding. You cannot use a witness statement, you need a live witness, sitting in court. There are exceptions, but they are complicated and not customary, such as if the witness dies before trial.

    Litigation is too hard for you to do by yourself without an attorney. The above is not legal advice, just information to show you that you need to do tons of work, research, and consult with an attorney.

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