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Discovery in Family Law

Posted on: May 7, 2014 by in Blog
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Orange County family law attorney

Similar to various other forms of litigation, parties in family law litigation have the right to conduct discovery on their adversary. Discovery is a fact finding vehicle by which opposing parties have an opportunity to learn the facts upon which the opposing party relies in making their legal claims. Discovery in a family regulation case exists in conjunction with a parentage law litigant’s duty of disclosure. While each party must make full disclosure of their assets and debts to the other party, a party must only respond to revelation if finding is demanded by the opposing party. With the increasing number of family law litigants representing themselves in parentage law litigation, discovery continues to be a challenge for both the party propounding and the party responding thereto.

As a means of illustration, the recent case of In re Marriage of Kahn serves to highlight some of the challenges with revelation and self-represented parties. Specifically, Mr. Kahn was a self-represented party in family regulation litigation to dissolve an approximate five year marriage.

During litigation, the wife’s attorney served Judicial Council Form Interrogatories along with a request for production of documents for Mr. Kahn’s response – both very common discovery vehicles in family law litigation. Mr. Kahn apparently failed to timely respond to either finding demand. The wife’s attorney filed the appropriate motion(s) to compel Mr. Kahn’s responses, which the court granted. When Mr. Kahn did not adhere to the court’s order, the wife’s attorney requested discovery sanctions from the court against Mr. Kahn. Ultimately, monetary and evidentiary sanctions were granted against Mr. Kahn.

Discovery is an important part of family regulation litigation and must be taken seriously. Failure to respond to finding can lead to monetary sanctions as well as evidentiary sanctions – both of which can have serious implications on a litigant’s ability to properly present evidence to a court. One must also consider the credibility implications associated with being the party that failed to properly respond to discovery.

If you are a litigant in family law litigation and were served discovery, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable not only in family law, but also with the discovery process. At Bayati Law Group, we exclusively practice family law and are experienced with the discovery process. Please contact us for a consultation to discuss your circumstances. We look forward to helping you.