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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Preponderance of Evidence


Term Definition Preponderance of Evidence - a standard of proof in a civil action, meaning the degree of difficulty facing a litigant in proving his or her case.
Application in Divorce Used in civil actions, preponderance of evidence is the standard in divorce actions that come to trial.

A lower standard of proof than clear and convincing evidence, it means that it is more probable than not that the litigant is right and that his or her allegations are true.

In litigation -- preponderance of evidence, clear and convincing and reasonable doubt -- are the three different standards that a litigant must meet to provide his or her claim. Preponderance of evidence, clear and convincing apply in civil litigation; reasonable doubt, in criminal cases.

Preponderance of evidence is the easiest to meet. That means that the burden of proof for the litigant is the least demanding. For example, a plaintiff’s claim that her husband dissipated their marital assets in the casinos of New Jersey requires much less evidence -- and has a lower burden of proof -- than a criminal charge that he shot the blackjack dealer.

The word preponderance in this context means something more than weight; it implies a superiority. It is evidence that as a whole is more convincing than evidence offered in opposition to it.

See Burden of Proof.

See also Clear and Convincing; Reasonable Doubt.

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