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Family Law Blog

Can I Use a Witness at My PA Divorce Hearing?

Published: Apr 17, 2019 in Divorce, Legal Blog
Wedding-Bands-Surrounding-Dictionary-Entry-of-Divorce

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

When you are going through a divorce, or are preparing to file, you may have several questions. One of which may be whether or not you can call witnesses in divorce court. Typically, yes, you can call witnesses during a divorce hearing in Pennsylvania. However, whether or not you need to is another story.

You should talk with an experienced Pittsburgh divorce attorney about using a witness at a divorce hearing. To schedule a free, initial case consultation, contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC by calling (412) 471-5100, or submitting your information through our online form.

When You May Need a Witness in a Divorce

There are several situations in which you or your spouse may wish to call a witness during a divorce hearing, including:

Factual Disputes

A judge dealing with a divorce cannot make decisions until they are confident in the facts of the case. If there are factual disputes, then you and your spouse will put forth evidence regarding what you believe to be the truth.

Factual disputes during a divorce can be almost anything, including whether or not a spouse committed adultery, a spouse’s financial habits, or whether or not any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse took place. When it is one spouse’s word against the other’s, you each may call other witnesses to testify regarding the facts.

Demonstrating Character

Pennsylvania allows for spouses to file for no-fault divorces. During these proceedings, it is unlikely you would need to establish your or your spouse’s character. During a fault-based divorce, though, it may be important to establish the type of person you or your spouse is. For example, if you filed for divorce and claimed you suffered from cruel and barbarous treatment, then you may ask friends and family members to testify regarding your spouse’s poor character and behavior during the marriage.

If your spouse is accusing you of immoral or poor character during the marriage, then you may call witnesses to testify about your morals, work ethic, nature, attitude, demeanor, and actions.

Child Custody Disputes

Questions of character and factual disputes often arise when child custody is at stake. When one parent is set on obtaining sole custody of a child, they may place serious accusations against you, including those involving physical or sexual abuse. Or, they may make simple yet frustrating claims that they are a better parent or have a stronger relationship with your son or daughter.

During child custody hearings, you may use witnesses to confirm the type and strength of relationship you have with your child and your actions and philosophy as a parent.

Talk With a Lawyer About Whether You Need Witnesses

You should not assume you will or won’t need witnesses during your divorce. This is something you should discuss with your divorce attorney. Depending on the circumstances, witnesses may be a necessity. In which case, it is important to talk with family members and friends about testifying early on to gauge how comfortable they would be with speaking up for you in court.

Also, there may be circumstances in which witnesses are not necessary but could be helpful. Your divorce lawyer will talk with you about the advantages and disadvantages of a witness at a
divorce hearing.

The Other Side Can Question Your Witnesses

Before deciding on using one or more witnesses during a divorce, it is important to consider what the other side may ask them. When your divorce lawyer calls a witness, they will question them under oath. When they are finished questioning your witness, then your spouse’s attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine them. Your witness is required to answer truthfully, which is why it is essential to consider what the other lawyer may ask and what could come out in court.

Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC About Your Divorce Questions

When you are preparing to divorce your spouse, you should obtain as much accurate legal information as possible. The best way to do this is to work with an experienced divorce lawyer from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. We offer comprehensive legal strategies, which can help you get through a divorce efficiently.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at (412) 471-5100.