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Why evidence is so important

The outcome of your court case will depend significantly on the evidence you provide to the court. This is true in every family court case, but it is especially true in cases involving abuse, because the impact of abuse is still misunderstood by many in the family law system.

Whether you are preparing your own paperwork or working with a lawyer who will prepare the court documents, you have an important role in providing as much detailed information as possible.

In the vast majority of cases involving violence against women, the perpetrator will deny or minimize the abuse. As a result, the court is left with what is known as the “he said/she said” problem. The court has the daunting task of trying to determine which version of the facts is more believable: yours or your ex-partner’s.

You need to be able to present persuasive evidence to the court so that details about the violence you have been subjected to are exposed. This can be challenging.

There are not often witnesses to woman abuse. In most families, it takes place behind closed doors where there is no one but you and possibly the children to see and hear what is happening.

You may have downplayed or even denied the abuse because you were embarrassed, thought it was a private matter or were threatened by your partner about what he would do to you or others if you told anyone. You may now fear that your children will be negatively affected if the violence is discussed in court.

Unfortunately, some of the people you will encounter in family court – court staff, mediators, lawyers and judges – still believe that women make up or exaggerate abuse to try to give themselves an advantage in family court. Your evidence can help overcome this hurdle and help those who need to know about it understand just how serious your situation is.

Where to start