Laws regarding marital privilege vary from state to state. In California, marital or “spousal privilege” is one of the more complicated evidentiary privileges. The complications come from the fact that there is not one, but two privileges. There is a difference between the spousal testimonial privilege and the confidential marital communications privilege.
Your current spouse can refuse to testify against you in a court proceeding due to the spousal testimonial privilege. However, if they choose to testify against you, you can stop him/her. Additionally, the confidential marital communications privilege stipulates that your spouse will not be able to testify about information that was shared in confidence during the marriage. Further, even if your spouse wants to testify about “confidential marital communications” against you, they will not be allowed to regarding information shared during the marriage.
This privilege applies to both ex-spouses and current spouses. Complications arise due to the fact that marital privilege only applies to communications that were said in confidence while you were married. Any information shared before or after your marriage is considered viable in court.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.