In every family law case, each party makes claims and allegations against the other party. Those claims or allegations include everything related to the marriage, the children, and why the divorce is happening, including, but not limited to (I know, lawyer talk, right):
- Whether one party cheated on the other, how many times, with how many people, etc.;
- If one party took the family money, went to Las Vegas, bet it all on black and lost it all;
- If one of the parents is abusive to the children or the other spouse;
- If one of the parents is aggressive to the kids;
- If one of the parents isn’t involved in the raising of the kids such as taking them to school, taking them to the doctor, etc.
Most of the time, cases are more evidence heavy when there are children involved because when it is only a property case, there is less to fight over. Idaho is a community property state, and unless there are compelling reasons otherwise, the court (the judge) will be splitting the property as close to 50/50 as possible.
That being said, the fault of the other party can be taken into account when the issue of alimony is present in the case. But, as I go into more detail in another post, getting to that post is a fight in and of itself.
Now, the reason why a case is heavier on the evidence when children are involved is that the court will look at a lot more factors when they decide who is going to get the kids and when. They look at the following factors:
- The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his or her custody;
- The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, and his or her siblings;
- The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The character and circumstances of all individuals involved;
- The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child; and
- Domestic violence, whether or not in the presence of the child.
So, when kids are involved, the court will not look at one of the parents cheating for the purposes of splitting up the property, a lot of attorneys will use that evidence reflects badly on the cheating parent’s “character.” It could also be argued that it may affect the interaction and interrelationship between the parent and the children depending on the circumstances. The weight that the court chooses to put on that evidence, however, is completely within the discretion of the particular judge assigned to your case.
Whatever evidence you are trying to put in front of the judge, it still has to be relevant and admissible. But, if it is, it is fair game, including text messages, DM’s, social media posts. You just need to lay the foundation for that evidence, which is just a fancy way of saying you can show the evidence is what you are saying it is. In the text message instance, you just need to verify it is a true and correct copy of text messages between you and the other parent, or you and the other parent and the specific kid. In family law cases, it is a little more easy because the rules of evidence is pretty relaxed unless one of the parties asks the court to put the more strict rules in the place.
If you have a case where text messages or social media posts (enter Kanye) are relevant, contact us to ensure the court sees all the relevant evidence.