The purpose of discovery is to allow the parties to obtain full knowledge of the issues and facts of the lawsuit before going to trial. An experienced family law attorney will use discovery to help you identify the various strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case. Well done, thorough discovery is a key aspect of trial preparation. Keep in mind, when conducting discovery, the primary goals are pretty straight forward: Discovery is used to learn what information the other side intends to provide at trial, to learn the opposing party’s position on contested factual issues of the lawsuit, to obtain information in the other party’s control that might be helpful to your case, to attempt to obtain useful admissions from the opposing party that can be used at trial, and to obtain information from the opposing party that can be used to impeach that party’s credibility (and the credibility of that party’s witnesses).
Discovery, when used properly and effectively, can also be used to uncover hidden assets the opposing party wishes to remain unknown. It can help you learn the true size of the community estate. The purpose and objective of the Texas discovery rules are to protect you from being surprised or taken advantage of in court. It can help to level the playing field and make sure that you are informed of any major aspects of the case that you may not have known before the lawsuit process was started. This is very beneficial in situations such as in a marriage where one spouse handled all the financials and the other spouse had little to no knowledge of the income and expenses of the family unit. The scope of discovery is generally limited to any matter that is not privileged and is relevant to the subject matter of the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or the claim or defense of any other party or may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
The most common forms of discovery in Texas family law courts include, but are not limited to:
Each form of discovery is used for a different purpose and follows its own set of rules as lined out in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. A request for disclosure is a request for basic information regarding the parties and the lawsuit that they are involved in. A request for production and inspection is a request for documents and other tangible items related to the case for review by the party making the request. A request for admissions is a request for the other side to admit or deny certain facts related to the case.
Depositions are oral (via telephone or in-person) or written interviews conducted between the parties or by one party to witnesses who have knowledge about certain aspects of the case. Discovery follows a very specific timeline and it is imperative to stick to it. Not following the rules and guidelines outlined in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery could result in sanctions from the court. It is very important to consult with your attorney and make sure you are providing them with the documents and information requested related to discovery. Communication between you and your attorney is key, especially during the discovery process. If you are open, honest, and upfront with your attorney they will be able to best help you request and answer discovery as you prepare for trial together.
Some cases may need all the forms of discovery mentioned above while other cases may only need to use a few forms of discovery to achieve their goal. This is where it would be beneficial for you to have an expert on your side guiding you through the process of preparing for trial. A skilled attorney can look at your case and draft discovery documents tailor-made for you and your desired outcome. Discovery is a very effective tool when used properly. The attorneys at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC are extremely skilled at conducting discovery. They are experienced with going to trial and ready to do what needs to be done to prepare for trial.
There are different levels of discovery control plans in Texas courts. Most family law cases are conducted under the Level 2 Control Plan. In cases conducted under a Level 2 Control Plan, the parties are limited to no more than twenty-five written interrogatories. Written interrogatories are written questions served on a party that require the party to file written answers under oath. Written interrogatories are a great way to obtain information and can be very informative. Though discovery may sound simple in name, there are many intricacies and avenues of execution, that are best explored by a Board Certified, Texas Family Law Specialist. If you are ready to go forward with a family law matter or thinking about divorce, contact the team at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC for a consultation today. We are currently offering our initial consultations in person, via telephone, and through several video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Skype. An attorney from our firm would be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you have regarding your case.
Choosing an experienced attorney can be key in determining the outcome of your case. It is important that you have an attorney with the knowledge and skills required for your case and who is willing to Mark Scroggins is board certified in family law and John Withers is board certified in family law and criminal law. The attorneys at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC have decades of practical experience to draw on and are masters at conducting discovery. Call 214-469-3100 or find us online at www.scrogginslawgroup.com. If you want respected, experienced, and passionate family law representation, call the expert attorneys at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC.
*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.
**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
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