Discovery in NC Family Law Cases – We have written many blogs about the fact that there are usually one of two ways in which a family law case ends: 1) Through an arrangement formed by consent of the parties, or 2) After a judge decides, at the end of a trial.  Part of both of these outcomes involve both sides of the case gathering information relevant to the matter at hand.  In a legal proceeding, the formal gathering of information is known as discovery.

In this blog, we will talk a little bit about the discovery process in a family law case.  Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.

What is discovery?

Discovery is a pre-trial procedure in which the parties to a legal action or lawsuit can seek the disclosure of certain information from each other.  In North Carolina, discovery rules are government by North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure 26.

Types of discovery include:

  • Interrogatories – A list of questions posed by one party to another
  • Request for production of documents – the request of relevant documents from one party to the other
  • Requests for admission – A list of requested admissions from one party to the other
  • Depositions – The giving of recorded sworn testimony prior to trial

How is discovery used in family law cases?

Using information to paint a certain picture to the court is the key to any action, including family law. Whether it is Child Custody, Equitable Distribution, Alimony,or some other family law matter, discovery is often a part of the process.  Below are just a few examples:

  • Discovery in Child Custody cases – Information is usually sought about the parenting and fitness of both parties. Questions asked include criminal records, living situations, substance abuse, incidents of domestic violence, and many other matters.  Information may also be requested about third parties that are involved with the child.
  • Discovery in Equitable Distribution cases – Information is usually sought about the ownership of real property, bank account information, and other general financial information. Documents sought in these cases involve bank statements, deeds, operation agreements, partnership agreements, insurance policies, and tax documents.
  • Discovery in Alimony cases – Information sough in Alimony cases usually involve the income of both parties, the education of both parties, and any other matters relevant to alimony factors.  Parties seek information to determine if there is a dependent spouse, and seek to gather everything that should be considered by the Court before a decision is made.

People often wonder if they can just handle their family law matter themselves.  Of course, you are allowed to, but with everything that is involved, people really have to determine whether or not they really want to.  Discovery is just one of the many things that people with no legal training do not have to deal with on a day to basis, that comes up all the time in family law.  If you want an attorney to help you with you family law case, contact us.  We handle family law in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

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