Discovery in Family Law Cases
California family law requires full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities during the divorce process. However, there may be times where it does not appear that the other party is being truthful or forthcoming. You should first try to informally request the information or documents in question. When that fails, you may need to utilize formal discovery methods such as the following:
- Family Law Form Interrogatories: These are questions contained on Judicial Council Form FL-145 that cover a range of topics, including income, assets, debts, and credits.
- Special Interrogatories: These are specially written and tailored to the issues in your family law case.
- Request for Admissions: These are written requests that require the other party to admit or deny that certain facts are true or certain documents are authentic.
- Request for Production of Documents: These are written requests to inspect and copy relevant documents in the other party’s possession.
- Deposition: This allows the oral questioning of a party or nonparty with a court reporter present to administer the oath and transcribe everything that is said.
- Subpoena: This can be used to obtain records from a third party (e.g., bank, employer, retirement plan) who has documents relevant to your family law case.
If discovery is necessary or if the other party has served you with discovery requests, you should seek representation by an experienced family law attorney. Discovery can be very complicated and requires knowledge of California family law statutes and cases to understand what is relevant. Both requests and responses must be carefully drafted. Discovery may lead to the need for a motion to compel, protective order, or request for sanctions.