Discovery in Divorce and Child Custody in Texas
There are Several Forms of Discovery in Divorce and Child Custody
In this video podcast, Mark L. Scroggins, Board-Certified in Family Law, teaches us how discovery in divorce and child custody in Texas. Discovery procedures allow you to discover information that is relevant to your lawsuit. Financial information, mental health issues, infidelity, and more. We have written and oral discovery. Oral discovery involves depositions, where the parties, their lawyers, videographers, a court reporter, and experts may all be seated at a large table where the attorneys can depose the opposing parties and learn information. You can use a transcript from a deposition later depending on a few factors.
Written discovery documents are interrogatories, which means written questions. Most cases are level 2 cases and you can ask 25 questions. The questions are basic work and life information, financial information, and so forth.
Another form of written discovery is the request for production of documents, specifically the statements from accounts. If there was infidelity, a request for production may include questions about names, dates, and information in text messages that is relevant to the allegations that one of the parties had a paramour. Sometimes a computer forensics expert is involved because things have been erased and may be able to be retrieved.
Related Article: Think Deleted Text Messages are Gone Forever? Think Again
Use this player to listen to the audio
For a consultation with a Board-Certified attorney at Scroggins Law Group, please call the main office number (214) 469-3100. We serve families in Denton, Dallas, and Collin Counties through our offices located in Frisco, Dallas, and Plano, Texas.
Requests for disclosures are another form of discovery, limited by statute. You can ask about people with knowledge about relevant facts, their theory of the case, and a list of their fact witnesses and expert witnesses.
Requests for admissions are also used from time to time, in the form of statements that the other side shall admit or deny what is said in the statement. Admissions can be used specifically to set up your case. It takes experience and a great strategy to navigate discovery in divorce and child custody in Texas.
How Are Discovery Documents and Information Used?
Mark leads on this topic by explaining that while there may be many documents involved, not everything is admissible in court as evidence to prove the allegations in your case. There are many objections your opposing party can use to try and keep certain documents out of evidence. That said, Mark explains that subpoenas can be used to ask for additional documents that another party may have, such as a source like a custodian of records at a school or business. But just because you have the documents, it does not mean they are all admissible.
Even though documents obtained in a divorce and child custody case may not be admissible as evidence because of various objection formats that Mark explains, they can still be useful to find other information and lead to something more relevant.
Overall, discovery documents are used to prove your allegations in your case as well as learning the opposing party’s allegations and the theory of why they should win. Mark uses the example of business records that can be used by experts to show the value of the business.
Forbes Article: Why a Forensic Accountant Belongs on Your Divorce Team
Mark also explains how the courts have different rules about discovery, how it’s used, and how witnesses may be able to testify in person or through audio or video technology.
What is the Role of the Client in the Discovery Process in Divorce and Child Custody?
The clients have a huge role in the discovery process because they are the ones who have the information sought in the discovery requests. Mark explains that at Scroggins Law Group, clients meet with their attorney and paralegal and go through discovery requests and work on responses.
Clients are the ones responsible for gathering all the information sought in requests for production of documents. Clients are the ones who must answer the request for admissions. And clients are the ones who are testifying in depositions.
On an important side note, Mark explains based on years of experience, that clients only have one shot at establishing their credibility, and if they lie, it can be very difficult to recover. When someone is caught lying and there is proof, it can lead to penalties including sanctions by the court.
On a case, by case basis, the parties and their lawyer can decide whether it is worth it to follow up on a motion for sanctions case at the end of the case based on a violation or something that has made a significant impact on the case.
On a note, these discovery topics and procedures are used not only in divorce cases but also in enforcement and modification cases depending on the facts and circumstances.
Mark continues in talking about client roles and explains issues regarding HIPPA and violations. He explains how much it matters to have a Board-Certified divorce lawyer who knows what to do with high-conflict cases and challenging issues in discovery in divorce and child custody cases in Texas.
You may also find the full audio podcast and summary on our Blog Talk Radio page and at this link: Discovery in Texas Divorce and Child Custody with Mark L. Scroggins
Call Scroggins Law Group Today for Help with the Discovery Process in Divorce and Child Custody (214) 469-3100