When spouses divorce, accusations often fly. Thankfully, these accusations are not (and cannot) be taken at face value. If they were, all kinds of baseless accusations could be made in society without any accountability, and you would have neighbors accusing each other of the most heinous crimes simply because they did not like each other. This is why we have something called the “burden of proof” in the American legal system, and it can certainly apply to divorces in many situations. How might this legal concept affect your divorce?
If you are approaching a divorce in New Jersey, you should get in touch with an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as possible. If you want to accuse your spouse of certain acts of misconduct, your lawyer can help you gather evidence and present your case with confidence. In contrast, your attorney can also help you show that accusations made by your spouse are baseless. In any case, you should book your consultation as soon as possible to get started on an action plan.
The Burden of Proof in a Divorce
No-Fault Divorces in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you have the option to either file for a “fault-based” or “no-fault” divorce. The latter is by far the most popular option, as it does not require you to prove that any particular misconduct led to the divorce. Instead, you can simply file for divorce under “irreconcilable differences.” In this type of divorce, there is no real reason to make accusations of misconduct, although these accusations may still arise for many reasons.
What Do I Need to Prove?
If you are going to accuse your spouse of some kind of misconduct, you need to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that your claims are in fact correct. For example, if you claim that your spouse has abused your children or committed domestic violence, you would need to back up these accusations with real evidence. Your word alone will not be enough to sway the judge.
In a divorce, you need to show a “preponderance of evidence.” This means that your evidence needs to show that it is more than 50% likely that what you say is true. Generally speaking, the burden of proof is weaker in divorce cases compared to criminal cases. In a criminal case, even a small amount of doubt may be enough for a jury to dismiss certain accusations. The burden of proof is even lower if you are applying for a protective order, as these are considered emergency measures that are granted on a temporary basis with very little oversight or analysis.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney
If you have been searching the New Jersey area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law. Over the years, we have assisted numerous spouses in the Garden State, and we know that a typical divorce can be filled with many accusations. Regardless of where you stand, we can guide you forward in the face of these accusations. Book your consultation today to learn more about your legal options.