Discovery is a legal process allowing one party in a legal case to request information and documents from the other. Parties have 35 days to respond to requests. The range of information and documents is substantially broader than what is collected through mandatory disclosure. While it can be time-consuming and expensive, it allows for enhanced case preparation. The two most common types of discovery in family law cases are Requests for Interrogatories and Requests For Production of Documents. Interrogatories are questions. In domestic relations court there are pattern interrogatories and requests. It is also possible to request ten nonpattern interrogatories and requests. These requests are written by the requestor and tailored to the very specific needs of that case.
In domestic relations cases the pattern documents that can be requested are a broader timespan of documents such as income statements, bank account statements, and credit card statements than what is produced in mandatory disclosure. If parenting time or child custody is relevant, a parent can be asked to produce such items as school attendance records to show the frequency of school attendance while in one parent’s care. Parties answer discovery questions under oath. A false statement is considered to constitute perjury, which can be prosecuted as a crime.
Practical tip: Be aware that you propound discovery, very often the opposing party will propound discovery as well. Therefore, if you request, also be prepared to answer.
Another method of discovery is issuance of a subpoena. If you are not represented by counsel, then the Clerk of Court must sign a subpoena for you to issue. With a subpoena, you can request documents from third parties relevant to the case such as credit card records, bank records, and employment information. When issuing a subpoena, you have to provide a copy to the other party and they can move to quash the subpoena, meaning ask the court to cancel the issuance of the subpoena. The third party can also move to quash the subpoena.
Discovery can aid in locating all assets which is important because if there is a material nondisclosure or misrepresentation of the value of an asset, then a dissolution case can be reopened for up to five years after the property division order issues to reallocate the division. For example, one Colorado case was reopened because Husband vastly minimized the value of a business asset. After Wife later found out about it, she petitioned the court to reopen the case and it did.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
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. Give yourself the benefit of hiring one. 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 has 24 years of legal experience and 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.