What is Discovery?

magnifying glass and filesAs with any type of legal proceeding, the success of your divorce or child custody case will depend in large part on the strength of the evidence you have to support your claims.  It is essential that you have reliable and admissible evidence in order to back up your requests to the court.  One way to obtain this information is through a process called “discovery.”  Discovery is a process during which you can request particular information or documents from the other party in your case.  Unlike in court when you can only elicit information that is directly relevant, during discovery you can request and obtain any information that is reasonably designed to lead to evidence that would be admissible at trial.  Clearly that leaves the door open for a large array of information.  There are several types of discovery. Deciding which should be used is highly specific to the information or documents you need.

Interrogatories are a highly common type of discovery used in many cases.  These are written sets of questions asking the party to disclose particular information, such as the grounds they intend to rely upon for their position in a custody matter, identification of property, a list of witnesses they may call, or their work schedule.  Interrogatories have the large benefit of being relatively inexpensive, as your attorney can simply ask the relevant questions in writing and send them to the other side.

Requests for production of documents typically go hand-in-hand with interrogatories.  In this type of discovery, you can request that the party produce documents ranging from income and bank statements to diaries to Facebook posts.  Note that a party may object to certain requests for production if the request would mean producing an unreasonable amount of documents.  For example, if the marriage only lasted two years, requesting production of twenty years’ worth of bank records will probably be overly burdensome and not relevant.  In other words, while discovery requests enjoy a large amount of leeway, they are not totally unfettered.

Depositions are another common type of discovery.  During depositions, your attorney will ask the other party questions under oath, and all responses will be recorded by a court reporter.  Depositions are highly advantageous because they allow your attorney to observe the demeanor of the other party and ask immediate follow up questions, which can often lead to additional useful information.

The more complicated the case, the more complicated the discovery strategy needs to be. Our attorneys use the methods above, as well as many more, to get to the bottom of the real facts of our client’s cases. Successfully resolving cases for our clients relies on knowing and understanding details.

Call us today at (651) 371-9117 and let us talk with you about discovery and court procedure. We can talk with you about what we can do to help you effectively pursue or defend your case.

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