Take control of your divorce case by hiring a trusted divorce attorney in Texas and gathering up as much evidence as possible. In Texas, all evidence in a divorce case falls into one of two categories: oral or written. Discover the top ten examples of evidence that can be helpful during your divorce case below.
Ask a Divorce Attorney in Texas: 10 Examples of Evidence That Can Be Helpful During Your Divorce Case
1. Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Valid prenuptial and postnuptial agreements represent two of the best pieces of evidence for a divorce case in Texas. These types of contracts often stipulate changes in property ownership by converting separate property into community property or vice versa. To hold up in divorce court, prenups and postnups must be:
- Duly signed
- Free of fraud or coercion
- Supplemented with financials or a duly signed disclosure waiver
The inclusion of unconscionable terms or the failure to meet any of the validity requirements may render a prenup or postnup void.
2. Bank Statements
All seasoned divorce lawyers in Harris County, TX, will tell you that banking documentation often plays a central role in splitting up property and determining spousal support. However, it can also prove wrongful dissolution of marital assets by one of the parties.
In some divorce cases, one party decides to withdraw, hide, or spend money, leading to marital waste. Bank statements can show who took money out of a joint account and when they did it, allowing the courts to issue an additional money judgment against the wasteful party.
3. Pay Stubs and Tax Returns
Pay stubs and tax returns help the court determine the amount of community property owned by the parties, as well as the lifestyles to which the parties became accustomed. These documents also allow judges to see which party served as the breadwinner and which party handled most of the childcare, housekeeping, and other unsalaried tasks.
4. Mortgage and Car Loan Statements
When determining how much equity sits within the community estate, the courts will look at all assets, especially real estate and vehicles. Sometimes, a judge will determine that home equity consists of both separate and community property. Mortgage statements indicate how much equity existed at the time of marriage and how much that equity increased during the marital relationship.
5. Retirement Account Statements
For longstanding marriages that end in divorce and recent marriages solemnized toward the end of one party's career, retirement account statements become crucial for division of property. They may also prove useful in determining whether one party committed marital waste.
6. Passports or Immigration Documents
In some divorces, a party's immigration status may come into play. When this occurs, the divorce proceedings may involve the tracing of bank accounts and other assets outside of the United States. One party's precarious immigration status automatically serves as leverage at the negotiating table, even if laws exist that prohibit it from doing so explicitly.
7. Children's Birth Certificates
When a divorce case involves children, their birth certificates represent the first piece of evidence to prove their existence, as well as the paternity of one party. The names, dates, signatures, and physical attributes listed on the birth certificates remain of interest to the court, especially in cases where paternity or the amount of child support is contested.
8. Childcare Records
Both parties should maintain records of their childcare expenses to help attorneys and judges estimate a monthly child support payment and assess who should pay it. Examples of childcare records include receipts for:
- Food and clothing
- Doctor's visits and medicine
- School supplies and tutoring
- Extracurricular activities
- Transportation and entertainment
Additionally, guardians should start a childcare journal to keep track of how much time the children spend with each party. This practice can make a significant impact on who receives custody and child support, as well as the amount of monthly child support payments.
9. Criminal History
Evidence of one party's criminal history may make a significant difference in a child custody battle, especially if that history involves the abuse of a minor. A history of domestic violence can also impact various aspects of a Texas divorce case. If you have a criminal history, you should take steps to have it expunged and demonstrate a change in your behavior that indicates you no longer pose a threat.
Proof of education reflects a party's earning potential and can mitigate the cost of monthly spousal support payments. Similarly, working a job while your spouse pursues an education may lessen your financial obligations once your divorce proceeding draws to a close.
Now that you know some of the most crucial types of evidence to collect before your divorce proceedings, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney in Texas to build a strong case. Make sure you ask your divorce lawyer for advice about how to legally gather evidence without eavesdropping, wiretapping, and other invasions of privacy.