The discovery process is one of the most critical aspects of a Florida divorce case, but it also can be one of the most frustrating for clients. The discovery process is the phase of divorce litigation where each side uses a variety of litigation tools to obtain relevant evidence and disclosure from the opposing party. The discovery process can be burdensome for clients who may be asked to locate obscure documents, and it can result in long delays that make clients feel like their divorce is not moving forward.
There is a wide array of discovery tools that West Palm Beach family law attorney James Cunha and his legal team regularly employ when seeking critical information relating to income, expenses, property ownership, equitable distribution of property, alimony, parenting agreements, child support and domestic violence. Some of these tools include:
Document demands or Requests for Production:
This form of discovery provides a means to obtain relevant records and documents from your spouse or an indication that the documents do not exist or cannot be located. Upon receiving the responses, your attorney will decided whether any missing records should be subpoenaed directly from the third party or pursue more aggressive measures against the spouse who is refusing to produce the records that are being requested.
Requests for Admissions:
This form of discovery can be critical because your spouse must admit or deny specific facts under penalty of perjury.
These are written answers to questions that may cover a wide range of issues in your divorce process. False answers to interrogatories also may constitute perjury.
When your spouse is deposed, they must provide live, sworn testimony in the form of answers to questions asked by your attorney. A deposition of your spouse typically is conducted in one of the attorneys’ offices where the person being deposed is under oath, and a court reporter memorializes the testimony.
Effective use of discovery provides a means for both spouses to narrow the issues in the case and develop an appropriate posture and strategy for negotiation and litigation. Florida law makes a procedure called “mandatory discovery” available in most though not all types of family law cases under Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285. This process requires each party to provide a financial affidavit to the other party and produce certain financial documents, such as:
- Pay stubs or other documents reflecting income
- Mortgage agreements and promissory notes covering real property
- Deeds for residential, vacation and investment properties
- Tax returns
- Retirement account statements
- Records relating to bank and investment accounts
- Credit card records and statements
Contact the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. at 561-429-3924 to schedule a consultation.