Do Family Courts Ever Verify the Information a Parent Offers in a Divorce Proceeding, Things Like Income, Housing, Bills, Savings, or Is It Dependent on the Other Parent to Object if the Information Is Fantasy Rather Than Reality Based?

Great question.

Your question helped to clarify something I have started to notice more and more among many people who are not divorce and family law attorneys or experienced in litigation: most don’t understand what the legal system does and does not do and how well or poorly it works to get to the truth. Let’s clear up some of those misconceptions and misunderstandings now.

It is not the job of the court to prove or disprove a party’s case. That is why U.S. courts are an “adversarial system”. That doesn’t mean that the court wants people to fight. An “adversarial system” in the context of divorce proceedings means that the parties each present (argue) their claims before a judge who then attempts to determine what is true and make its rulings on that basis. The expectation in an adversarial system is that the truth will be revealed as opposing sides scrutinize and challenge each other’s claims. The adversarial system “is in contrast to the inquisitorial system used in some civil law systems where a judge investigates the case.”

So, if you want the court to ensure it accurately understands what your or your spouse’s income, expenses, debts, and assets are, it is your responsibility to prove these things. It is not the duty of the court/judge to investigate these matters itself. You gather the evidence and make your arguments to the court. The court decides whether your evidence is sufficiently convincing to rule in your favor.

When it works well, the adversarial system usually gets to the truth and, based upon the knowledge of the truth, the court rules justly. When the adversarial system works poorly it does so by failing to get to the truth and/or consider the facts, and, based upon sloppy analysis and/or bias, the court rules unjustly.

Never expect the court to do your job for you. Never expect the court to treat you fairly (don’t misunderstand me here: I am not saying you should expect the court to be unfair, it means that you should do everything to make the truth so clear that even the most inattentive and inept judge can’t miss it, cannot deny it).

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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