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How Does the Discovery Process Work and What is it For?
The discovery and disclosure process is the ongoing process in every case where each party can request information from the other party and provides each party with information, documentation, exhibits, witnesses, and an overall view of what the issues are in each case and how each party wants to resolve those issues. It can also help narrow down the issues for trial. This process is very important because both parties are required to provide documentation to the other party if they want to use it at trial and it can also be helpful if you want to try to settle your case without going to Court. This process is to be completed by both parties and it assists each party in deciding what their positions should be as to all issues in their case. You have 40 calendar days from the date of service to provide all responses to the other side.
What are Requests for Production of Documents and Things?
These are similar to Uniform and Non-Uniform Interrogatories. However, instead of having to answer specific questions and provide minimal documentation to support your answers,you will provide more in depth and detailed documentation for more extended periods of time. The requested documents may pertain to the issues in the case and will assist each side in determining what documents they want to present at trial.
What Will be Requested?
Typically when Requests for Production are sent out, most parties and attorneys will send standard requests which has every party answer essentially the same questions and provide the same documentation; however, the other side can make other requests.
In most cases you will be requested to produce the following documents:
- Banking and other financial account records
- Documents regarding your child(ren)’s school records
- Documents pertaining to any debt you may have
- Information about your current and past employment and income
- Income tax returns
- Health and life insurance information
- Information regarding property you own
In most cases you will also be asked if you have any other documents to produce that you believe to be relevant to your case and what exhibits, at the time of completion of the Request for Production, you intend to use at Trial. You may also be requested to provide Releases of Information for third party providers depending on the issues in the case.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you begin immediately to complete the gathering of this documentation. It can take a significant amount of time to gather old statements and other documents and often times you have to order them from the company. If you do not provide all requested documentation to the other side in the time required, the other party can request that the Court make you comply and you could possibly end up having to pay the other party’s fees, and even attorney’s fees if the other party is represented. It will be much more efficient and cost effective for you if you get everything together as soon as you get the requests and have them organized in a manner that will make it simple for the other side to review and analyze.
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