Divorce Discovery in Texas
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At some point in the Texas divorce process there is a good chance your ex will serve you with documents known as discovery. During our divorce cases it is not uncommon for us to hear from our clients our clients all kinds of complaints regarding answering discovery requests.
At The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, we have helped our clients obtain positive outcomes in divorce. Our Houston family law attorney understands discovery serves an important part of the divorce process.
Although discovery can be unpleasant during a divorce many times it is exactly what your attorney needs to prove your case. This is because it is your lawyer’s job to take and use the facts of your situation to build your case whether it is to get you a “just and right division of the property.” Or to try and get you custody of your children.
It is important to put the effort in at the beginning this will allow for more persuasive arguments later in the case in mediation or in court. It is difficult to have a meaningful mediation if we do not know what the property is. This also will save you money in attorney's fees if we are able to settle the case early on in mediation rather than later because we did not do our homework at the beginning.
Discovery usually involves one or more of the following documents:
- Request for Disclosure – The Rule 194 requests for disclosure contains a list of mandatory questions that you must answer. The questions require parties to identify individuals involved in the case, name any expert witnesses, address the disputes, and determine any wrongdoing.
- Request for Production – The request for production and inspection contains a list of documents that you must present. Any type of document can be requested, such as income, bank accounts, credit card statements, stock options, insurance plans, 401(k) plans, and retirement accounts.
- Written Interrogatories – Interrogatories contain a list of questions that you must answer. Some questions make multiple requests, so please be sure to answer each and every part to each question. These answers to these questions address the details of certain issues, such as where the bank accounts are located, how much money is in those accounts, who has access to those accounts.
- Requests for Admission – Requests for admission requires the opposing party to either admit or deny certain statements. If they fail to respondent, they must provide a reason for their statements.
- Sworn Inventory and Appraisement – The party responsible for responding to the sworn inventory and appraisement must list every asset he/she is aware of. Additionally, the assets must be deemed either community or separate property and given a value.
- Depositions – Depositions are a form of oral discovery. These are witness examinations which is recorded by a court reporter under oath. Depositions are often times most useful after the other discovery tools have been used. This because you can then ask questions regarding their responses to prior discovery.
How Quickly Must I Answer Discovery Requests?
In most circumstances, once you are served with Discovery requests you have 30 days to respond. However, because preparing the discovery can be a very time-consuming process we like to get the rough responses back from our clients within a couple weeks to allow us to organize formal responses.
What If I Do Not Respond?
I have more than one client tell me that "That it is none of the other party’s business!" If the discovery is objectionable your lawyer will object. However, during the divorce process, there are a lot of things that can legally be asked for.
Be advised that your failure to respond to the discovery requests or responding to them late allows the opposing party to request a number of sanctions and penalties against you, including but not limited to payment of fees and the opposing attorney’s fees.
Ultimately, responding to discovery is your responsibility. It is not something that your lawyer can do for you.
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The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC understands what it takes to get the results you desire. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with our Houston attorneys right away to protect your rights.
For more information, contact us and discuss your case with our experienced legal team.