Do I Have To Do Discovery?

Legal proceedings usually require many different steps to move forward and come to a conclusion, and divorce and custody are not exceptions to this.  Filing the proper pleadings, serving the other party, temporary hearings, are just a few examples of the steps in a divorce.  Discovery is also frequently a necessary step in divorce, post-divorce, custody, or child support cases. Discovery is the process by which you can obtain information and documents from your former spouse or partner.  On the other hand, your spouse or partner can also request information and documents from you.  During discovery, it is permissible to request a wide array of information, as long as it is reasonably designed to lead to evidence that is admissible in court.  As family law is by its very nature a quite personal, you may not be very eager to answer all of these questions, and may wonder whether you have to complete discovery.

Once you have been served with discovery requests, you will have to respond within thirty days.  There are exceptions, however.  If the request is unduly burdensome or is designed only to harass you, then your attorney can object to the questions.  The requesting party may bring what is called a “motion to compel” to ask the court to force you to respond to those requests.  The judge will then decide if you must provide the information or documents requested.  Before objecting to every request, however, you should understand that during a motion to compel, it is possible that you may be ordered to pay attorney’s fees for the requesting side if the court finds your objection baseless.

Discovery is not a required step in every divorce, however.  In other words, if you and your spouse have already agreed on the settlement provisions, there may be no reason to actually conduct discovery.  Discovery is an important step to make sure you have all the proper information and evidence in a contested hearing, but when you and your spouse agree, there is no reason that you cannot just agree to exchange certain documents instead of formal discovery.  This can save not only time, but also legal fees.

Legal proceedings usually require many different steps to move forward and come to a conclusion, and divorce and custody are not exceptions to this. Filing the proper pleadings, serving the other party, temporary hearings, are just a few examples of the steps in a divorce. Discovery is also frequently a necessary step in divorce, post-divorce, custody, or child support cases. Discovery is the process by which you can obtain information and documents from your former spouse or partner. On the other hand, your spouse or partner can also request information and documents from you. During discovery, it is permissible to request a wide array of information, as long as it is reasonably designed to lead to evidence that is admissible in court. As family law is by its very nature a quite personal, you may not be very eager to answer all of these questions, and may wonder whether you have to complete discovery.

Once you have been served with discovery requests, you will have to respond within thirty days. There are exceptions, however. If the request is unduly burdensome or is designed only to harass you, then your attorney can object to the questions. The requesting party may bring what is called a “motion to compel” to ask the court to force you to respond to those requests. The judge will then decide if you must provide the information or documents requested. Before objecting to every request, however, you should understand that during a motion to compel, it is possible that you may be ordered to pay attorney’s fees for the requesting side if the court finds your objection baseless.

Discovery is not a required step in every divorce, however. In other words, if you and your spouse have already agreed on the settlement provisions, there may be no reason to actually conduct discovery. Discovery is an important step to make sure you have all the proper information and evidence in a contested hearing, but when you and your spouse agree, there is no reason that you cannot just agree to exchange certain documents instead of formal discovery. This can save not only time, but also legal fees.

We have extensive experience helping our clients understand the steps of discovery and family law cases. Call us today to talk about your case.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.

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