Phone records can be used as evidence in a divorce case in Arkansas, but it’s important to understand the rules and limitations for using this type of evidence.
What are the Requirements to be Considered Divorce Evidence?
In order for a spouse’s cell phone records to be used as evidence, they must meet the requirements for relevance, authentication, hearsay, privacy, and must be subpoenaed from the phone company.
Relevance: Phone records can be used as evidence in a divorce trial if they are relevant to the case. This means that the records must have some bearing on the issues being decided in the divorce, such as child custody, property division, or alimony.
What if the Records Collected are Possibly Fake or Have Been Doctored?
Authentication: In order to be used as evidence, phone records must be authenticated. This means that you must be able to prove that the records are genuine and accurate.
This can be done through testimony from the person who created the records, or through documentation showing that the records were produced by a reliable source.
What if the Person Submitting the Evidence Only Heard the Info from Someone Else?
Hearsay: Cell phone records may be considered hearsay, which is a type of evidence that is not based on personal knowledge. Hearsay is generally not admissible in court, but there are some exceptions.
One such exception is the “business records” exception, which allows records that are kept in the regular course of business to be used as evidence.
This could potentially apply to phone records, but it’s important to note that each case is different, and the admissibility of hearsay evidence will depend on the specific circumstances.
How are the Other People Involved on the Phone Records Protected?
Privacy considerations: Cell phone records may contain sensitive information, such as the identity of the person being called or the content of the conversation. In order to protect privacy, the court may order that certain information be removed from the records before they are used as evidence.
How Do I Get Cell Phone Records?
Subpoenas: If you want to use phone records as evidence in your divorce case, you may need to subpoena the records from the phone company. A subpoena is a court document requiring the recipient to produce certain documents or other evidence.
What you really have to consider is what you are trying to prove with the phone records. Most people considering a divorce or going through a divorce put a lot of emphasis on collecting incriminating evidence for why the divorce is happening, or as the court would say, the grounds for divorce.
Does the Phone Record Evidence Even Really Matter?
People tend to collect a large amount of evidence to prove their spouse has been doing something wrong. Fortunately, in modern divorce cases, the grounds are rarely argued about.
Meaning once a divorce case is filed the parties rarely try to stop each other from being able to get divorced. If that is the case, the court strictly limits the evidence and testimony about the reason for the divorce to just what is required.
This would exclude any use of phone records. Most people believe that proving wrongdoing will have an impact child custody or property division, but it doesn’t in most cases.
Could the Evidence Affect My Child Custody Case?
The court is not supposed to consider the reason for the divorce as part of the child custody determination and property division.
This really only leaves the only reasons to use phone records to be for custody battle purposes or property division purposes.
For custody purposes, the records would have to show behavior that impacts the safety or well-being of the children.
For property division purposes the records might be useful if property has been sold or is missing and you are trying to track it down or see the sell price.
It’s important to note that the rules for using phone records as evidence in a divorce proceeding can be complex and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
If you have questions or concerns about using phone records as evidence in your divorce, it’s a good idea to speak with a family law attorney or divorce lawyer who is familiar with the laws in Arkansas.