Discovery Requests Family Law

Discovery requests in Family Law cases – Family law cases often take a long time to resolve and there tend to be a lot of steps involved.  The length of this process depends on a long of things included but not limited to the following:

  • What area of family law is in question: Divorce, Child Custody, and Equitable distribution all have different expected time standards to get the case resolved.
  • The actions of the parties involved in the matter (including when they file the appropriate documents, requests for hearing, and notices of hearing).
  • Whether or not the parties are going to handle things amicably or if things are heavily contested.
  • Whether there will be a trial, and how that trial takes shape.

In this blog, we will talk about what happens when there is going to be a trial, and discovery is requested.  Like all of our blogs, this blog on family law discovery requests is intended to be for informational purposes only and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.

What is discovery?

Discovery is simply the formal exchanged of information between the two parties to a legal matter. The purpose of discovery is to gather enough information to make your case.  In essence you will get a lot of the evidence you intend to use in your trial from the discovery process.

When does discovery happen?

Discovery occurs after both an answer and a complaint has been filed in a case, but prior to trial.  Typically, the timing of discovery requests depend a lot on how heavily contested the matters in question are.

What types of discovery are there?

Discovery can take the form of the following:

  • Interrogatories – Which are a list of questions asked from the opposing parties
  • Requests for admissions – Which are exactly how they sound
  • Requests for production of documents – Which asks for specific documents from the opposing party
  • Depositions – Which is sworn testimony under oath but prior to a trial 

Do I have to answer all the questions that are asked of me?

There are limits to discovery requests with regards to the amount of questions that can be asked and the time in which the party has to answer.  There are also some questions that can be objected to if there is some sort of privilege applies.

If you refuse to comply discovery, the requesting party can file a motion to compel and request that the judge force you to make the requested disclosures.

Is there always discovery?

Discovery is step in the process that is not always used.  If you have a simple child custody trial coming up for example and you can get all the information you need through other means, you may not to take the time and effort to request discovery at all.

If you are in need a family law attorney, contact us. We assist in family law matters in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

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