Divorce and family law matters involve civil litigation in the family court. However, many are unsure what the purpose of discovery may be in divorce and family law litigation.
Some clients may not see the purpose behind it. Many clients may not want to pay the legal fees involved for discovery in family law matters. Some clients may not even understand the various available discovery techniques.
If You Were At A Casino, You’d Want to Know the Cards of Others
In a casino, would it not be nice to know the cards of others playing against you? If you knew the other players’ cards, you’d know when to hold your cards. You would also know when to fold them. You would also know when to put more money on the table.
Pleadings or Motions Guide the Discovery
Family court litigation is not any different in many respects. In divorce or family law litigation, the parties file petitions or motions in the case. As part of the petitions or motions, a party makes various allegations.
For example, a party may request sole legal or physical custody. The request could be based on allegations of abuse, drug use, mental health or other allegations.
In theory, a party could go to court without requesting any of the documents or evidence to substantiate the allegations. A party could save their money and take their chances. But this is not a wise course of action in almost any type of litigation, including divorce and family law litigation.
What Discovery Techniques Are Available?
Most parties should contemplate having their lawyers engage in discovery. Basic types of discovery would involve sending interrogatories and requests for production.
An interrogatory could ask the other party to explain under oath all reasons why they are requesting sole physical legal custody. The other party may have to include dates, times and details for the reasons for their request for sole physical and legal custody.
Along with the interrogates, it is almost always wise to send requests for production. With the request for production, the other party may be asked to provide any documents or evidence of any kind whatsoever to justify the request for sole legal and physical custody.
The laws vary by state. However, most parties have to respond to these interrogatories and requests for production within a certain time. If not, a lawyer can file a motion to compel them to force them to answer.
In other cases, other forms of discovery can be used. For example, a deposition can be taken under oath where a party further explains their position. In other cases, a lawyer may serve subpoenas on third parties and necessary witnesses for evidence and testimony.
Do Not Go Into Court Blind Without Discovery
In the end, discovery is useful in almost any kind of litigated divorce or family law matter. Discovery allows a party to flesh out whether the other party is holding a good or poor hand in terms of the allegations they have raised.
Additionally, by conducting discovery, a party can decide what witnesses and evidence to present themselves in court. Discovery also allows a party to determine whether to settle or try their case in court.
If you are going through a divorce or family law matter, Stange Law Firm, PC can talk to you about the discovery options in your case. You can contact us online or call 855-805-0595.