When a new client with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is discussing with me their case one subject that we will get into is what evidence does our client have to support any allegation that he or she is making against their spouse. Whether we are talking about infidelity, community income or any other subject associated with your divorce it is necessary for you to 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 have the ability to request information and documentation through a process called Discovery. Today’s blog post will focus on this subject and discuss the important role it plays 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 key points of information that your opposing party intends to rely upon if your case were to go to a trial. As such, it is very important that you be able to review and consider any evidence that your spouse intends to utilize in a trial.
Discovery operates as requests that you each can make of each other for information. It’s likely that your discovery requests must be made and received at least thirty days prior to 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. For you the client it is also the most time consuming 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 as well as to prepare arguments for trial and settlement proposals for mediation. When each side has access to the same information and documentation it is amazing how much more 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 sort of “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, the names of any potential parties and the general legal theories that you are operating on when it comes to the 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. Basically 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 are able to focus their attention on those issues that may actually 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 him or her. 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 the onerous 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 his or her 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. You will need to track down tax returns or income statements or profit/loss ledgers for your business from your accountant or tax preparer in the event that you don’t have them at your immediate disposal.
Your attorney will not be able to just take your responses and throw them at your opposing counsel- although that would be pretty humorous. A great deal of time is spent fine tuning responses and formatting documents to be correct for formal submission.
Our office asks that clients provide us responses/documents at fifteen days prior to the deadline in order so that we may discuss everything with you and seek clarification or additional documents where necessary.
The ultimate 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 document prior to trial- giving you an unfair advantage.
Also, timely submitting documents and responses to questions to your attorney will allow for a more accurate and complete response to be sent to opposing counsel. The better the responses, 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 your responses may be compelled by the judge.
Questions on divorce and the importance of discovery? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you are contemplating divorce please contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas in contested and uncontested divorces. To find out more about our office and the services we can provide you and your family with contact us today.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Discovery in Texas Divorce Cases
- What is and Why do I need to do Discovery in my Texas Divorce?
- You've filed your Divorce... now what? The "Discovery Process" and why it's important
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
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- Am I Married? - Marital Status in Texas
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- 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
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Attorneys
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.