Discovery in Divorce and Family Law
Discovery is a tool used in divorces both contested divorces and agreed divorces. If the husband and wife can’t or haven’t yet reached an agreement about the division of their possessions, accounts, debts and liabilities or about access to the children, then information needs to be gathered. A contested divorce progresses differently than an agreed divorce. Discovery is one of the tools we use to get our clients all the divorce information they need to make well-informed, educated divorce decisions. The divorce goals and divorce decisions can include how to finish their divorce and discovery is completed before a divorce trial. Discovery can be expensive, but is also sometimes the best option.
There are different types of discovery that can be used to get the information our clients need. There are written types of discovery, types that require producing things, answering questions and ones that require people to do certain things, for example appear for a deposition. All discovery follows specific rules that are in the Texas Family Code as well as the procedural rules. In Denton County, that also includes the Standing Order. Discovery in divorce cases can be sent by the Petitioner or Respondent in a divorce.
Written discovery includes financial information sheets, inventory and appraisements, Requests for Disclosure, Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions. Financial information sheets and inventories are the information about the property the couple owns, income and debts. Requests for Disclosure follow a specific form and pattern provided by the rules and requests the other side in a case to disclose certain specific things about the case about parties and experts. Interrogatories are written questions from one side to the other side. Requests for Admissions are requests that a party admit or deny certain statements about the case. For each type of discovery, each side can send a specific amount of that type to the other side. The other side sends their written responses to the other attorney within 30 days.
Requests for Production
Another type of discovery is the Request for Production. This is where one side of the divorce asks the other side to send them (produce) certain documents. The documents can be sent to the other attorney’s office or in certain cases if there are a lot of documents then they can be available to be inspected by the attorney requesting them.
A deposition is a specific part of discovery. It is the process to set a certain date for the parties of the case and their attorneys to appear at a certain location for one attorney to ask questions to one of the parties, like testimony in a trial, before a trial about certain things involved in the case.
This is a very basic discussion of discovery in family law and divorce cases. An experienced family lawyer and divorce attorney will help you prepare for discovery in your case if you need it. Jill O’Connell can work with you on discovery in your case – call today 940-497-5454.
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