When a new client with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, is discussing their case with me, one subject that we will get into is what evidence our client has to support any allegation they are making against their spouse. Whether we are talking about infidelity, community income, or any other subject associated with your Divorce, you must substantiate any claims or arguments you intend to make with evidence that is admissible into the record of your case.
Gaining access to this sort of evidence can prove difficult before your Divorce has been filed. However, once your case has been filed and assigned to a court, you and your attorney can request information and documentation through a process called Discovery. Today’s blog post will focus on this subject and discuss the critical role in divorce cases.
What is Discovery, and what purpose does it serve?
You are entitled, as is your spouse, to have an understanding of the critical points of information that your opposing party intends to rely upon if your case were to go to a trial. As such, you must review and consider any evidence that your spouse wants to utilize in a problem.
Discovery operates as requests that you each can make for information. Your discovery requests must likely be made and received at least thirty days before the assigned trial date.
The types of Discovery requests available to you in a Texas Divorce?
Request for Production and Inspection- Documents can be requested in requests for production. It is also the most time-consuming for you, the client, as your attorney will ask you to dig through whatever files you have for old tax returns, bank statements, and credit card bills, among other types of information. Attorneys use this information to determine the size of your community estate and prepare arguments for trial and settlement proposals for mediation. When each side has access to the same information and documentation, it is incredible how fruitful settlement discussions can become.
Interrogatories– Interrogatories are statements made under oath- meaning that once you respond to the interrogatories, you will need to sign off on your responses in front of a notary. The questions asked are “foundational” questions for the case in general.
Requests for Disclosure- These are more requests for basic information about your case- the names of each party, any potential parties, and the general legal theories you are operating on when it comes to Divorce. The name and contact information for any potential witness that may be called during a hearing or trial are also fair to be asked for.
Request for Admissions- This type of discovery request asks the responding party to either Admit or Deny the truthfulness of a statement made in the document. These requests will seek to weed out the parts of your case that are not in dispute so that your side and the opposing party can focus their attention on those issues that may be disputed in a trial.
Get to work on answering these requests immediately
You will become your attorney’s favorite client if you can begin to collect information and documents associated with your case before even hiring them. This is because the responses can take a long time to complete, and organizing hundreds or even thousands of pages to submit to opposing counsel can be quite an arduous task for your attorney.
Doing a lot of the leg work before the requests even arrive at your attorney’s doorstep and then scheduling a time to meet in person with your attorney or their paralegal is a solid recipe for turning in your responses on time and in a format that will not cause any objections to be offered by your spouse’s attorney.
It is not enough to tell your attorney that you don’t keep copies of a particular document at your home or office, and therefore the requested documents for production do not exist. That excuse will not fly if presented to a judge. If you don’t have them at your immediate disposal, you will need to track down your business’s tax returns, income statements, or profit/loss ledgers from your accountant or tax preparer.
Your attorney will not be able to take your responses and throw them at your opposing counsel- although that would be pretty humorous. A great deal of time is spent tuning responses and formatting documents correctly for formal submission.
Our office asks that clients provide us with responses/documents fifteen days before the deadline to discuss everything with you and seek clarification or additional documents where necessary.
The utmost importance of Discovery for you and your case
At the end of the day, if you don’t provide a document to your opposing party in negotiations, then you cannot come back and attempt to rely upon that document as evidence in a trial. The theory behind that is that your spouse hasn’t had an opportunity to review the record before the test- giving you an unfair advantage.
Also, timely submitting documents and responses to questions to your attorney will allow for a more accurate and complete answer to be sent to opposing counsel. The better the reactions, the less likely an objection will come from the other side and the less likely you’ll have to pay your attorney to represent you in a hearing where the judge may compel your responses.
Questions on Divorce and the importance of Discovery? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you are contemplating divorce, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas in contested and uncontested divorces. Contact us today to find out more about our office and the services we can provide you and your family with.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce“
If you want to know more about how to prepare, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter Them” Today!“
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Discovery in Texas Divorce Cases
- Why do I need to make Discovery in my Texas Divorce?
- You’ve filed your Divorce… now what? The “Discovery Process” and why it’s important
- Six things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- I Want a Texas Divorce, but My Husband Doesn’t: What can I do?
- Am I Married? – Marital Status in Texas
- Can I sue my spouse’s mistress in Texas?
- 6 Tips – On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
- Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
- 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
- Does it Matter who Files First in a Texas Divorce?
- What is discovery and how might it affect my Texas divorce?
- Discovery in Texas Divorce Cases