My Spouse is a Liar, and I Can Prove It
Written by: Stefano Ceroni
“My spouse is a liar, and I can prove it!”
Unfortunately, clients often fail to realize two critical facts when it comes to their family law court cases:
1. Proving a spouse is a “liar” is often quite difficult to do. In many cases, the “lie” is an exaggeration, difference of opinion or excusable mistake
2. The “lie” is usually of little importance when compared to the other issues of the family law case.
To the disappointment of many clients, the “smoking gun” they have presented us with is most often NOT likely to shoot the credibility of the soon-to-be ex dead in the water. Unfortunately, what most people think is rock solid evidence, is usually, at least in the eyes of law, nothing more than weak circumstantial evidence. This evidence is often given little weight by judges and often can be easily overcome by the opposing party’s testimony.
For example, just because your spouse “intercepts” your “private” Facebook post, that doesn’t mean he or she “hacked” into your account and stole your privileged correspondence. If you sit and think about, without straining your brain too much, you could easily come up with several ways a person could get this information without hacking into your account (i.e., mutual friends). Therefore, unless you are prepared to present expert testimony from a forensic computer expert regarding the invasion of your account from your ex’s IP address, you’d better let that one slide.
Clients also believe that when they are able to catch their spouse in a lie, it’s as big as winning the Golden Ticket. BUZZ—-WRONG! Say your ex claimed he or she didn’t have a copy of the 2011 tax returns on the Affidavit of Financial Information, but later produces those records (two days before trial). This inconsistency will not necessarily lead the judge to the conclusion that your spouse is a liar. Your soon-to-be ex will likely testify that he or she reasonably believed he or she didn’t have the tax returns as of the date the AFI was completed. Your soon-to-be ex will then testify he or she discovered those tax returns upon searching the old storage shed while looking for a garden spade.
Sorry Charlie, there goes your Golden Ticket!
Remember, these “lies” are old news for most judges. As a result, claims that your spouse is a liar will likely play a smaller role in your case than you think. Instead of expecting your attorney to spend half of your trial trying to prove something that is of little or no consequence, let your lawyer ask your ex about the really important things. Isn’t that what you’re really paying your lawyer for, anyway?