In most cases involving child custody, you will need to go through a process called “discovery.” Discovery is a process done during your case that allows you to obtain copies of any evidence the other party has, and requires you to disclose your evidence to the other party. Discovery can take many forms. Depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents are common forms of discovery that may be used in your case. Your attorney will tailor your discovery requests and methods to your particular case, based on your issues and goals.
Depositions is the process by which you can require the other parent to appear and give oral testimony. This testimony is given under oath, just like it is in court. Unlike court, however, your attorney can ask a much wider range of questions. In some cases, you may also be able to take a deposition of witnesses or other people associated with your case.
Interrogatories are written questions, and can only be used to ask questions of the other parent. These written questions typically must be answered. Interrogatories can ask for things such as names of potential witnesses, what specific parenting schedule the other side is requesting, all sources of income, or the reasons behind why a parent believes his or her request is in the child’s best interest.
Requests for production of documents are a tool by which your attorney can get copies of important documents that relate to the subject matter of your case. Your attorney may ask, for example, for pay stubs, lease documents, or proof of pertinent travel expenses. Other important documents could include copies of emails or Facebook posts relating to the child. Generally, the requests can only be related to the subject matter of the case, and can only ask for documents under the control of the other party. For example, it would probably not be possible to obtain medical records of the other parent’s new significant other, as the other party would probably not have the right to access those records.
The end result of all this gathering of information is to know before trial what evidence the other party has, and how he or she is likely to use that at trial. It will also help your attorney to know what evidence he or she needs to produce to counter the other side’s case. Although having surprises in the court room makes for exciting television, the reality is that any evidence not disclosed in discovery will likely be excluded once you get to trial.
Discovery can be a lengthy process, but is highly useful and sometimes essential. For example, we can give you a clear picture of how discovery can be used in your case to prove that your proposed parenting schedule is in your child’s best interest. Contact us today to talk about how to achieve your goal. Call us at (253) 272-9459 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.