- Natalie K. Boeckx
If you have a divorce, custody, of protection order case that’s bound for court, then it’s time to start collecting documentary evidence to support your positions. Our expert trial attorneys can help you organize your documents to ensure maximum persuasive value in court. But, before we do that, consider these tips to get started on your own:
Start Recording: In cases involving domestic violence or verbal abuse, the perpetrators own words often do them in. Colorado is a “one party consent” state -- which means you can record telephone calls and in-person conversations without the other party’s consent or knowledge. There are many free apps you can download to record calls in the background. You can also download a voice recorder app to your phone and let it run in your pocket while talking to someone in person. Never stay in a dangerous situation for the sake of creating a recording. But, feel free to press that red circle if you know you are safe and there’s evidence in the air.
Social media posts: Screenshots are the best way to keep track of social media posts as the user can later delete them. Try to ensure you include identifying information about the poster and the date of the post in the screenshot. If you use Google Chrome as your internet browser you can highlight the part of the person’s facebook page you want to save and then right click and “print” the selection as a pdf. This makes a nice clean exhibit.
Text messages: Screenshots from your phone are also a great way to keep copies of text messages. Make sure you go far back enough to show the date and time of the message. With a lot of smartphones including iPhones it does not show up a date or time until a few days later. Make sure you take the screenshot after a timestamp has appeared on the message(s) before taking a screenshot. Try not to respond angrily or emotionally as the texts can also be used as evidence against you!
Backing up data: Make sure you backup all your screenshots, recordings and other evidence securely to the cloud in case you lose your phone or the other party gets a hold of your evidence and tries to destroy it. Forward emails to a new secret address or to a trusted family member. The safest option is to create a new cloud account that the other party is not aware of and ensure it is securely password protected.
Start now: Don’t wait to start collecting evidence until you know you need it or try to “bait” a person into giving you the evidence you need. This can put you in danger and also cause the court to question your motives. Also, it gives the other party the ability to start deleting information like social media posts once they know a court case is imminent. Start collecting evidence before you know you need it. This will also prove to the court that this is an ongoing issue, not a new or isolated incident.
Don’t worry: While documentary evidence is extremely helpful to prove a case, remember that your own testimony is also considered evidence. So, even if you don’t have any physical evidence you can still testify and present your case to the judge. A lack of physical evidence does not mean you will not prevail in your case.
At Boeckx Law we are experts in collecting evidence and presenting it at trial. Let us help you present your case!