What is Burden of Proof? A legal term that gets thrown around quite a bit is Burden of Proof, and for good reason. After all, it is the measure or amount of proof that a person must produce in proving their claims in a court of law.
Merriam-Webster’s legal definition of Burden of Proof is “the responsibility of producing sufficient evidence in support of a fact or issue and favorably persuading the trier of fact (as a judge or jury) regarding that fact or issue.”
Burden of Proof is required in practically every court case, including:
- Civil cases
- Criminal cases
- Family Law cases
In any of these legal cases, the court does not presume one party involved in the case is correct. However, the Burden of Proof falls on the shoulders of the person who brings the claim in front of a court. If successful, that burden then switches to the other party to refute any claims before a ruling is made.
In other words, you can’t get into a community property dispute and say, “This property was mine before the marriage” and expect the court to agree unless you prove what you’re saying with evidence such as key dates or a bill of sale. The same thing goes for the victim of a car wreck having the burden to prove negligence and personal injury because of the other party’s actions.
Here are more examples of cases where Burden of Proof comes into play:
- Modification suits
- Contested divorce cases
- Custody cases
- Parentage suits
- Dividing and confirming marital property
- Reimbursement claims
It’s important to note that the amount of proof a party must have to satisfy the burden of proof in a court case differs depending on the case itself. For example, the Burden of Proof in a criminal case is much higher than in a civil case. Instead of proving beyond a reasonable doubt, a party in a civil case will likely be required to provide a preponderance of the evidence.
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