What is Spousal Privilege in CA?

Pleasanton CA famiy lawIn CA law, spouses are entitled to confidentiality when it comes to any private communications between both parties. In a legal sense, this means that a spouse may not be compelled to testify about these private matters to a court of law. The idea behind this is that it helps foster spousal harmony and prevents situations where one spouse is condemning the other, etc.

However, there are limits to spousal privilege particularly in regards to divorce and other related family law matters. In these types of legal procedures, a spouse can use these privileged communications if they are pertinent to the case, and if the person can prove that this information can only be obtained through these confidential communications.

Exceptions to Spousal Privilege in California

While the law provides robust protection to the confidentiality of private communications between spouses, there are limitations to these protections. Some specific exceptions to spousal privilege include the following scenarios.

    • Divorce proceedings: If a person is seeking to get a divorce or annulment, he/she can may use privileged communications if they shed light as to the intent or culpability of the other party.
    • Asset division: Privileged communications can be used by either party to demonstrate whether one or the other is attempting to hide assets or conceal relevant financial information.

 

  • Child custody/visitations: These include communications that shed light into relevant matters such as child neglect, failure to oblige by parental duties, and more.

 

  • Criminal activities or fraud: Spousal privilege does not apply to communications that can demonstrate or prove criminal behavior or intent.

In these and other contexts, spousal privilege isn’t an option. A person can thus be compelled to testify against their spouse about any of these matters even if he/she does not want to. 

Consult with a Family Law Attorney Today

As you can see, the lines between what falls under spousal privilege and what doesn’t can easily get blurred. Protect your legal rights as well as those of your loved ones and always consult with a divorce attorney before taking any other steps in your CA divorce or family law matters.

If you have any questions about spousal privelege, the divorce process in CA, or any matter relating to family law in CA, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the Law Offices of James P. White. Call us at 925-271-099 to connect with our seasoned CA divorce attorneys today!