Depositions in Discovery - Colorado Divorce and Family Law
Discovery allows a party to obtain enhanced information unavailable through the financial disclosure process. It must be completed no later than 28 days before hearing. However, a court can extend the time upon a showing of good cause. In civil cases, the three most common methods of discovery are depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents. Courts engage in active case management and address discovery disputes when parties have them.
Discovery is not unlimited and must reasonably relate to the needs of the case. It can not be propounded to determine irrelevant information or to harass. Discovery was addressed in In In re Marriage of Gromiko. Here, the Supreme Court of Colorado decided that trial courts are responsible for determining the appropriate scope of discovery based on the unique aspects of each case. 387 P.3d 58 (Colo. 2017). In Gromiko, Wife requested a substantial amount of information through discovery about Husband's business. Husband objected to provision of the discovery. The Court determined that the trial courts must "determine the appropriate scope of discovery in light of the reasonable needs of the case and tailor discovery to those needs.
Further that the court should consider cost-benefit and proportionality standards when deciding how much discovery is necessary. The factors include whether the proposed discovery is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, outside the scope, and reasonable with respect to the underlying claims and defenses. In this case the Supreme Court determined that the trial court did not sufficiently tailor the scope of discovery and that Wife's discovery had been too broad in light of the needs of the case.
Depositions are not commonly used in discovery in Colorado divorce and family law, however they can be utilized. Sometimes they may be helpful with regards to gaining information from an expert witness. Depositions of non-parties are also permissible to obtain or authenticate documents unavailable to the requesting party. A deposition is conducted in person or by video with the deposing party questioning the other party under oath. A transcription of the deposition is made that can later be utilized at trial for limited purposes such as impeaching the other party if he or she makes inconsistent statements.
Expert witnesses may be deposed if their opinion may be presented at trial. Deposition rules are set forth in C.R.C.P. 26(b)(2)(A), 28, 29, 30, 3l, 32, 45, and 121. A deposition may be taken before:
- An officer authorized to administer oaths;
- A person appointed by the court;
- A person with no interest in the case; or
- A person designated when a request is made from one court to another.
Depositions are utilized for various purposes. C.R.C.P. 32. The notice may contain a request for production of documents. A party or interested third party may move the court to quash or modify a subpoena. C.R.C.P. 45(c)(3). The most common uses are:
- To preserve testimony of a person who may be later unavailable for trial;
- For impeachment at trial; and
- To obtain facts relevant for an expert witness.
A knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. This allows you to focus on moving on to a better future instead of spending your time attempting to navigate complex legal rules and procedures.
Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who protects your best interests and ensures that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.