California Judge Deems That Counties Can't Ban Oral Testimony In Divorce Cases

From Contra Costa Times
By Malaika Fraley

Contra Costa County Superior Court violated state law with a rule that prohibited people in divorce trials from presenting oral testimony, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling means a new divorce trial for Jeffrey Elkins, a Danville business consultant who challenged the county court's rule that required evidence to be submitted exclusively by written declaration, except in unusual circumstances.

It also means trial courts in California counties with local rules similar to Contra Costa's will have to change the way they do business. In January, as the Elkins case was pending, Contra Costa County Superior Court changed its local procedure to allow oral testimony, in addition to written declarations, for requesting parties.

Tango’s Take
Thank goodness that cooler heads prevailed. In our estimation, most marriages end in divorce because of a lack of oral testimony (double entendre and thankya). We’re glad that the state shot down this law. Essentially, it boiled a divorce proceeding down to whose lawyer could better write up why their client deserves the house, the car, and the 401K. That’s not fair; California is a state of actors. The two parties should at least have a chance to emote for the judge and jury and really sell their positions.

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