WHAT IS THE DISCOVERY PROCESS AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?

Discovery is a standard part of every case in which each party “discovers” what the other spouse has in the way of witnesses, documents, evidence, and other information. Both parties have the right to seek discovery from one another so you can be assured that you are not being subjected to something unfair; in fact, your attorney should and will send out your own requests for discovery to the other side.

The discovery process can start as soon as the case is filed (discovery request can be served on the opposing party with the summons and complaint as well) and consists of Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, Requests for the Production of Documents, and Depositions.

In Virginia the discovery process in a family law, divorce, custody case is dictated by Rule 4 of Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia.

The discovery requests are mostly information either side will need from you in order to prepare for trial, and you may have already provided some information to your own attorney. Your responses and documents are due to the opposing counsel within 21 days of receipt of the requests. Any failure to respond could result in a Motion to Compel, at which you may be ordered to pay sanctions or attorney’s fees for the other side.

In response to each discovery request, unless there are valid legal objections that prevent you from fully answering the discovery request, you are required to provide all information and documents requested. In almost all cases, if and when an objection is appropriate, your attorney will make the objection in the appropriate form.

Interrogatories:

Interrogatories are written questions that require an answer. Interrogatories can pertain to just about any aspect of your divorce. The purpose of an interrogatory is to establish certain facts of a case prior to trial.

Requests for Admissions:

Requests for Admission seek to either provide proof that a fact is true (such as a date of separation, or a spouse’s state of employment, etc.) or that a document is authentic. A party’s response to a Request for Admission must be thorough and truthful. One must be very careful in their response to a Request for Admission, as they may inadvertently establish evidence in favor of their spouse.

Requests for the Production of Documents

Discovery requests are made because the filing party lacks, what they believe, to be critical evidence to move forward with the case. Some couples share all of their financial and other information, while others keep their finances and other information separate. Divorce, and the necessary separation of assets and liabilities that follows, requires that both parties have a clear picture as to the value of marital estate. Requests for the Production of Documents often home in on financial information, but other information can be requested as well. For some couples, discovery requests may include 401k balance sheets, stock transaction reports, personal bank account information, trust account information, and so on.

Depositions

Deposition is the process by which sworn testimony is provided in a case prior to trial. This testimony usually occurs before a reporter who will capture and then provide a transcript of everything stated during the Deposition.

Our experienced and reliable attorney at Khanna Law will be able to advise you as to how to both adequately and timely submit and respond to Discovery Requests.

At Khanna Law we successfully help our clients in navigate the complicated divorce process on a regular basis. We pride ourselves in guiding you, protecting your rights and providing dedicated, intelligent, and reliable representation.

If you are seeking representation in a divorce, custody or visitation case, call us at 703-570-4232 or email us at info@khannalaw.com to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorney.

We proudly represent family law, divorce and custody clients all over the Northern Virginia area, including in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington County.

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