Once your divorce is filed, the opposing party has been served and in some cases a temporary order in place, it's time for some "discovery".
Discovery is a tool your attorney can use to find evidence to present during your trial/hearing. Both sides can, and most of the time, participate in the discovery process which must be complete 60 days prior to the final trial in your case. This procedure allows both sides to get the information they need to determine the size of the community estate and to learn the position the other party will take on certain issues. There are several types of Discovery mechanisms. For instance, written discovery can be divided into five different areas, and Oral discovery in the form of a deposition, as well as, an inventory and appraisements, and Mental/Physical Examination.
- Request for Disclosure: Usually consists of standard questions that are asked in every litigation. You will be required to identify persons with information relevant to the case, expert witnesses, legal contentions and economic damages.
- Interrogatories: A set of written questions sent to the opposing party that require responses about relevant issues, and limited to 25 questions.
- Request for Production of Documents: Any document can be requested including documents relating to community property, and/or separate property.
- Request for Admission: Statements that the opposing party must either admit or deny and failure to answer will result in the requests being deemed admitted.
This requires the party to list every asset they know about. It also requires the party to list the asset as either community or separate property, must be signed under oath, and helps facilitate the Proposed Property Division. This document must be filed with the Court.
Oral discovery is what is also known as a deposition. This will provide direct and cross examination of party and non-party witnesses taken under oath before a duly sworn court reporter.
Under Texas law, the testimony taken by deposition can be presented to the court as if the witness were testifying in person before the court. This helps an attorney in various ways including, narrows the testimony of the witness, narrows the issues in the case, and always for impeachment evidence to challenge their truthfulness at trial in the event a witness attempts to change their story at the final trial.
Another tool, but not very common, is if the facts of a case warrant a mental or physical examination legally appropriate based on the facts, and upon a motion granted by the Court a party can be Ordered to appear for a Mental/Physical Examination.
Although very time consuming, when done correctly and used appropriately, can be one of the most effective informational gathering tools in a divorce, child custody case, or in a modification of child custody.
Other Articles you may be interested in:
What is and Why do I need to do Discovery in my Texas Divorce?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
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