Evidence in Connecticut Divorces

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Dark and light blue border around a white bacground and the black writing that says evidence in Connecticut divorcesUpdated December 11, 2023

If you want to understand evidence in Connecticut divorce, first you need to understand what evidence is and why it’s critical.  Evidence is anything that helps to prove that something is or is not true.  Read on to learn how evidence works in Connecticut divorces.

Understanding the Role of Evidence in Divorce

In the realm of divorce proceedings, evidence holds immense power. It can make or break a case, influencing crucial decisions about child custody, alimony, and property division. Navigating the legal landscape without a solid understanding of how evidence works can be overwhelming and risky. That’s why it is essential to comprehend the role of evidence in divorce proceedings.

The admissibility and weight of evidence are determined by Connecticurt’s rules and procedures, making it crucial to have a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the process. Understanding what types of evidence are relevant and how to present them effectively can greatly impact the outcome of your case.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of evidence in divorce proceedings. We will explore the various types of evidence, such as documentation, witness testimony, and expert opinions. We will also discuss the standards of proof required and examine strategies for gathering, organizing, and presenting evidence to strengthen your position.

The Importance of Evidence in Divorce Cases

Evidence plays a pivotal role in divorce cases — especially when they are contested. It provides the foundation upon which decisions are made about various aspects of the divorce, including child custody, division of assets, and spousal support. Without proper evidence, it becomes challenging to prove your claims or defend against allegations.  This leaves the court to rely solely on testimonies (or “he said she said”).  The judge may view this as subjective and less reliable.

In divorce proceedings, evidence serves as a means to establish facts and demonstrate the credibility of one’s arguments. It helps paint a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding the marriage, making it easier for the court to make informed decisions. Whether it is financial records, text messages, or witness statements, evidence adds weight to your claims and can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

However, it’s important to note that not all evidence is admissible in court. The rules of evidence are complex, and that’s why you need an experienced CT divorce attorney who understands the specific requirements and limitations. They can guide you through the process and ensure that you gather and present evidence that is admissible and strategic.


Evidence gets shared between the parties via a process called “Discovery.”  The idea is that all parties have access to the evidence that might be presented at trial well prior to trial.  This is intended to avoid one of the things you see on tv and in the movies – where one side surprises the other with new evidence mid-trial.  Lawyers call this “trial by ambush,” and it makes much better fiction than reality. Instead, discovery allows your attorney to design a plan to deal with potentially problematic evidence, for example, by locating new or additional evidence that contextualizes or responds.  It also helps resolve cases because the sooner both sides have their arms around the relevant evidence in a case, the sooner the divorce attorneys can negotiate, and the two spouses can reach resolutions outside of court.

Read: Discovery in Connecticut Divorces
Read: Settlement & Divorce

Types of Discovery

Discovery includes everything from document exchange to testimony to written questions answered under oath.

Read: Requests for Admission and Divorce
Read: Depositions and Divorce

Types of Evidence in Divorce

When it comes to divorce, you can present various types of evidence to support your case. These include:

1. Documentation: This includes financial records, bank statements, tax returns, property deeds, and any other relevant documents that provide evidence of income, assets, debts, and expenses. In many cases, these are the documents that back up the information in your financial affidavit.  Documentation is particularly crucial in determining property division and spousal support.

2. Witness Testimony: Testimonies from witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of the issues at hand can be powerful evidence. These witnesses can include people who can provide insight into the financials, dynamics of the relationship, parenting abilities, or any other relevant aspect of the case.

3. Expert Opinions: In some cases, expert opinions may be necessary to support your claims. These experts can include child psychologists, forensic accountants, or appraisers who can provide professional assessments and evaluations to bolster your arguments. Expert opinions carry significant weight in divorce proceedings.

It’s important to carefully consider the types of evidence that are most relevant to your case and consult with your attorney to determine the best strategies for gathering and presenting them effectively.  In addition to the limits of the evidence rules, the court also only allows parties a finite amount of time in which to present their case.  You have to focus on the things that are most important to move the ball.

Admissibility of Evidence in Divorce Court

Connecticut governs evidence’s admissibility in divorce court with specific rules and procedures.  The rules dictate what evidence you can present and how you must present it. In order to ensure that the court considers your evidence, it’s critical that you have an attorney who understands Connecticut’s admissibility requirements.

First, evidence must be relevant.  In other words, it must have a direct bearing on the issues in the case. Second, it should also be reliable and trustworthy. Third, hearsay evidence, which is an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted, is generally not admissible unless it falls under certain exceptions.

To ensure that your evidence is admissible, work closely with your attorney. They will guide you through the process and help you determine which evidence is likely to be admissible and which may be challenged. Your attorney will also help you understand the rules of evidence specific to Connecticut and present your evidence in the most effective manner possible.

Relevant Evidence Definition

The Connecticut Code of Evidence defines “relevant evidence” as:

“[E]vidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is material to the determination of the proceeding more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.”

That’s very broad, which is one of the reasons it’s essential to work with an experienced divorce attorney who understands how to design a sophisticated discovery strategy.

Read: Mandatory Disclosure and Production in Connecticut Family Law

Examples of Relevant Evidence in a Divorce

Connecticut divorces have their own set of documents that Connecticut has pre-decided are relevant in a divorce.  They are called “Mandatory Disclosure and Production.” The rules also require “financial affidavits,” which disclose information about each spouse’s income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

Read: Key Things to Know About the Financial Affidavit
Read: What is the Financial Affidavit in a Connecticut Divorce

When Relevant Evidence is Excluded

But what about evidence not covered by Mandatory Disclosure and Production or the financial affidavit?

Well, relevant evidence is admissible unless there is some reason the court decides that some other concern outweighs the value of the evidence.  These concerns are generally reflected in either an “exception” or via a “privilege.”  As a practical matter, if your spouse side seeks relevant information from you beyond the mandatory disclosures, they make the request.  You will either provide that evidence or object to its exposure for a legitimate reason.  When the two sides can’t reach an agreement, a judge decides.

Read: Privacy During Divorce


The court may exclude relevant information if it falls under an exception to the rules of evidence.  Some examples include “prejudice, confusion, or waste of time” or “hearsay.”

Read: Attorney-Client Privilege and Divorce


The other side can’t compel you to produce evidence that’s subject to a “privilege.”  The main privileges are:

  • Attorney-client privilege
  • Settlement, mediation, and negotiation privilege
  • Healthcare provider privileges
  • Certain communications made to clergy
  • Privilege against self-incrimination, and

All of these are important and relevant in divorces.  For example, the attorney-client privilege protects certain information you share in confidence as you seek legal advice.  It also covers the legal advice your attorney provides. However, it’s possible to “waive” the privilege and create a situation where that information will come into play. Hence, it’s critical to consult your lawyer before sharing anything with anyone outside your legal team.

Read: How Not to Screw Up the Attorney-Client Privilege During Divorce
Read: Should I Tell My Divorce Lawyer Everything?

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Presenting Evidence

When presenting evidence in divorce proceedings, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can weaken your case. Here are some key mistakes to avoid:

1. Failing to authenticate evidence properly: It’s crucial to establish the authenticity of your evidence. Your lawyer can do it through witness testimony, expert opinions, or other means, depending on the nature of the evidence. Failing to authenticate evidence properly can lead to the court deeming it inadmissible.

2. Presenting irrelevant or unreliable evidence: Only present evidence that is directly relevant to the issues at hand and ensure that it is reliable. Presenting evidence that is not relevant or that lacks credibility can undermine your case.  Sometimes, you will think a piece of evidence is (or should be) more persuasive or relevant than the court thinks it is.  Listen closely to your lawyer’s take on what’s most important — they’ve been down this road before.

3. Violating the rules of evidence: Having an experienced Connecticut divorce attorney is key here. Violating the rules can result in the judge excluding your evidence, potentially weakening your case.

4. Failing to organize and present evidence effectively: Proper organization and presentation of evidence are crucial for clarity and impact. Your attorney can assist in organizing evidence in a logical manner and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand and persuasive.

By avoiding these common mistakes and working closely with your attorney, you can increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

The Role of Expert Witnesses in Divorce Proceedings

Expert witnesses can play a critical role in divorce proceedings, providing professional opinions and evaluations that can significantly impact the outcome of the case. Depending on the issues at hand, expert witnesses can include child psychologists, forensic accountants, property appraisers, or any other professionals who can provide specialized knowledge and insights.

Expert witnesses are typically called upon to provide objective evaluations and assessments that can help the court make informed decisions. Expert opinions carry significant weight, as judges view them as experts in their respective fields. Whether it’s determining the best interests of the child or valuing complex assets, expert witnesses can provide valuable insights that can shape the outcome of the case.  In many cases, experts prepare a report, and then they may also testify at your trial,

When considering the use of expert witnesses, consult with your divorce attorney to determine the most relevant and effective experts for your case. They can also provide you with a sense of the costs associated with retaining various experts.  Your lawyer will guide you through the process of retaining and presenting expert witnesses, ensuring that their opinions are properly introduced and considered by the court.

The Impact of Evidence on Divorce Settlements

Evidence isn’t only important if and when it comes to a divorce trial.  In fact, evidence’s impact on divorce settlements cannot be overstated. Evidence in a divorce case can greatly influence the negotiations and decisions made during the settlement discussions. Strong and persuasive evidence can provide leverage and support for your claims, increasing the likelihood of a favorable settlement.

When presented with compelling evidence, the opposing party may be more inclined to negotiate and reach a settlement that is fair and equitable. Evidence can help establish the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position, making it easier to find common ground and reach mutually beneficial agreements.

On the other hand, weak or insufficient evidence can weaken your bargaining position and make it more difficult to achieve a favorable settlement. Without strong evidence to support your claims, you may be at a disadvantage during negotiations and may be more likely to accept less favorable terms.

It’s important to remember that the impact of evidence on divorce settlements may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the preferences of the individuals involved. However, in general, strong and persuasive evidence can significantly increase your chances of achieving a favorable settlement.

Next Steps

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Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC