Discovery will be an important part of your family law case. Discovery is a process that allows each party to request information, records, and evidence related to their case. In the State of Georgia, family law cases follow the Georgia Civil Practice Act when conducting formal discovery. There are two avenues to Discovery your attorney may take one is formal discovery and the other is informal.
Types of Formal Discovery
There are several methods of formal discovery. The most common are: Request for Production, Interrogatories, Depositions, and Request for Admissions. Request for Production allows the opposing party to gather evidence by requesting documentation. Interrogatories request the opposing party to answer a set of questions. Request for Admissions ask for the opposing party to make factual admissions on a set of statements. Depositions allow the attorney to question the opposing party in person outside of a courtroom. For each of these methods, the responding party is under oath.
Am I required to respond to Discovery?
In short, yes. When Discovery Requests are served upon an individual they have 30 days to respond unless the Discovery was served with the Complaint and Summons then the Defendant has 45 days to respond. If one of the parties’ responses are insufficient the opposing attorney may send a letter asking for the party to send over the requested documents or response. After making a good faith attempt to request the missing information, the requesting party under Georgia law may “move for an order compelling an answer, or a designation, or an order compelling inspection in accordance the request” O.C.G.A. 9-11-37(a)(2).
What does Discovery Requests normally ask for?
Discovery Requests in family law cases typically focus on gathering financial information from the opposing party.
The information and documents requested may include:
Can Formal Discovery be avoided?
In some cases, parties may choose to go through an informal discovery route that allows both parties to disclose evidence to each other without formally filing the request with the Court. Informal discovery allows the attorneys to communicate to each other the evidence they need to back up any claims made by each party. While informal discovery is a less costly approach than formal discovery it is not a route that can be taken in every case and many factors are considered by an attorney when deciding to go with formal or informal discovery.
How does Discovery help my case?
Discovery is an important tool to allow a party to gather evidence to help support their claims against the opposing party. Further, it allows the requesting party to gather financial information that the party does not have access to. This is especially important in divorce cases when it comes to dividing the property between the parties. It is important to have an experienced Family law attorney on your side to help you through the discovery process. Contact our Marietta divorce lawyers online, or call us toll-free at 866-527-2630 to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.