Rebutting the Family Code Section 4325 Domestic Violence Presumption: In re Marriage of Brewster and Clevenger (2020)

If a party who is asking for spousal support has committed a documented act of domestic violence against the other spouse (the party they are asking to pay spousal support) there is a rebuttable presumption that such support is inappropriate. However, this presumption can be rebutted and overcome by evidence that prior to those acts, the other party committed domestic violence.

The case of In re Marriage of Brewster addressed a very interesting question—what KIND of evidence of past violence is necessary? The issue had not really been addressed before.

The answer is that documentary evidence needs to be presented, not just testimony. This means things like police reports, pictures of injuries, voicemails, 911 call transcripts, medical records, employment records, and court records are needed. What this means is that a party is going to need to gather such evidence, and prepare to authenticate it in court. This is a higher burden than simply having the abused party testify about the evidence, and means subpoenas will be required to get proper authentication of most records.

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