In the earlier post, I wrote that information is vital to court action.
But I'm not talking about just any kind of information – we
need truthful information. We have also learned that discovery (formal
or informal) is a process by which your lawyer will help you collect information
that you may need for your case. Therefore, during discovery, our main
goal is to collect as much truthful information as possible.
In an amicable divorce, getting truthful information isn’t terribly
difficult. In contentious cases however, your spouse may try to be evasive
and conceal important information, or worse. One of the discovery tools
a lawyer can use to force a contentious adversary into fair participation
is by issuing a formal Request for Production of Documents.
The “Request” is a formal demand, issued by one party that
demands that the other party produce relevant documents and information.
Used in lieu of a simple release, the request can be very lengthy and
may require the production of documents dated before, during, and after
the date of separation. State law establishes the responding party's
deadline; however, it is not uncommon for responses to be late due to
delays caused by third parties (custodians of records) who maintain the
State law and local rules establishes the format and content of the responding
party's response. It may take several “requests” during
formal discovery to get the most relevant records needed to resolve your
case. Commonly, the types of documents required may include financial
records, employment records, school transcripts and medical records.
If the respondent fails to respond to a request in a timely manner, your
attorney may ask the court to order compliance with the threat of contempt
charges and fines.