Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Abolishing Spousal Privilege

From FindLaw:

New Mexico [recently] became the first state to outright abolish spousal privilege. This comes after years of exceptions, workarounds and a general policy of courts to interpret the spousal privilege as narrowly as possible. While New Mexico is the first state, it may very well not be the last.

Spousal Communications, a Weakening Privilege

New Mexico Rules of Evidence 11-505(B) holds that “a person has a privilege to refuse to disclose, or to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication by the person to that person's spouse while they were married.” This is spousal testimonial privilege.

However, many courts, including the Supreme Court, have weakened spousal testimonial privilege. The Supreme Court in Trammel, for example, limited the privilege to the witness spouse only back in 1980.

Read more here.

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