Evidence Practice in Virginia- How to get records in?

In many divorce or custody trials, it can be challenging to present all of the necessary facts and evidence to the Judge for consideration in what are often very short amounts of time, sometimes no more than 1 or 2 hours.

One way to help streamline presenting evidence, can be to utilize records. Records such as school records, medical records, police records, etc., can be collectively referred to as “business records”. In Virginia, business records are records kept in the ordinary course of business, by a custodian of the records for that particular business.

For example, a medical office keeps charts and notes of doctor visits for patients, which are kept by the doctor’s office administrator in their usual practice of running a medical office. Often instead of having to subpoena a doctor or nurse to come and testify as to what happened during visits, or to opine on diagnosis contained in the records, the medical records themselves can be introduced as evidence, and speak for themselves. All business records that an attorney wants to introduce, should be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, executed by the custodian of records for the business.

By submitting the records and the certificate of authenticity as evidence, the inherent hearsay objection can be overcome, and the evidence will be received by the Court for review and consideration, without the time it would take for a witness to testify on the stand, and without the cost of a professional witness fee as well. As such, utilizing the business records exemption to hearsay can be fruitful for presenting evidence to the Court while also keeping costs low for the clients.

If you have questions regarding custody and visitation, our attorneys can help.  Please feel free to call us at (804) 423-1382 or email us at info@wmmlegal.com to set up a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.