Preparing for Trial (Witnesses/Supporting Evidence)


#1

Situation is I left an abusive marriage (but only one formal police report was filed). I filed for divorce/custody/child support. He countered for custody/child support and alimony/postseparation support.

In preparing for the custody/child support/alimony hearings, I feel that I need to demonstrate a history of the abuse during the marriage, a history of harassment before and after DOS; and a history of his irrational decision making with regards to the health care of our child. I would like to present evidence (emails, voicemails, digital voice recordings) to support my claims. I would also like to enter testimony from witnesses or affidavits of testimony.

I reviewed the following previous response from several years ago:
“Unless your local rules require, you do not have to provide the opposing party with a list of your witnesses. If you have to subpoena a witness, you do have to provide the opposing side with a copy of that subpoena.”

That said, 1) how can I find out the local rules for my presiding county (Union County). 2) Can I submit a request that my ex/defendant provide a list of his intended witnesses via discovery/interrogatories? 3) Who is considered an “expert witness”? If licensed counselors are going to provide testimony, are they considered expert witnesses?

  1. during trial, how do I request evidence be reviewed by the judge OR how exactly do I present evidence during the trial? Do I just ask? (that may seem like a silly question, but I’ve just never been involved in a court proceeding).

Thanks in advance!


#2

(1) Each county’s local rules for court are on the NC Courts website. See Union County rules here.

(2) Yes, you can request a list of witnesses through discovery but the other side is not required to inform you in advance of witnesses unless those witnesses are under subpoena.

(3) An expert witness is a witness that will be giving an opinion based on their specialized knowledge. For example, in a custody case, an expert witness could be a child’s treating psychologist who will testify that custody should be placed with one parent over the other based on that psychologist’s treatment and specialized knowledge.

A licensed counselor can provide testimony but if the counselor is only providing information and observations learned from sessions, and not giving an opinion, then the licensed counselor can be a lay witness (i.e. a regular, non-expert witness) rather than an expert witness.

(4) You will need to lay the proper foundation to get evidence in front of a judge. For emails from your husband for example, you will need to testify that the email you received is from the email address that you associate with your husband and that you have not altered the email in any way since receiving it and printing it.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#3

That’s helpful! So, I’m reviewing the local rules regarding alimony…
7.1 Pleadings for Post-Separation Support and Alimony. All pleadings for post- separation support and alimony must have attached a completed Financial Affidavit (FORM #8A). The moving party shall serve upon the opposing party or counsel the pleading and the party’s completed Financial Affidavit.

The counterclaim for alimony/pss that I received did not include my ex’s financial affidavit. Is there a motion I can file to dismiss on grounds that the rule wasn’t followed and the affidavit wasn’t attached?? (because that would be ideal, of course); or do I have any other options against his alimony claim?

Does my Answer have to be sent certified mail or can I send with appropriate postage and submit the certificate of service for regular mail?


#4

The counterclaim for alimony/PSS cannot be dismissed for failure to follow the local rules. However, you should bring this to your spouse or his/her attorney. Ultimately, not claim for PSS or alimony can proceed without the proper financial information and documents being mutually exchanged by each party.

You do not need to send your answer or reply to the counterclaims via certified mail. You can send this by regular mail. Just be sure to file a certificate of service with the clerk’s office that shows you sent the answer/reply to counterclaim, the date you sent it, and how you sent it (i.e. U.S. Mail).


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.