Discovery is the process by which we ask the other side questions and seek out the necessary documents to gather facts important to your case.
The discovery process is often maligned and frequently misunderstood. Yet it is an important tool necessary to ensure that you and your attorney know what you need to know to make important decisions about your case. Your San Antonio family law attorney will use the discovery process to learn more about your estate, to discover facts surrounding your children, and to determine what your spouse believes is in their best interest. In the event that it becomes necessary, discovery will help you and your attorney prepare your case for trial.
Below are the different kinds of discovery.
Interrogatories: These are simply sets of written questions that must be answered under oath and within 30 days of receipt. The questions may inquire about specific issues in dispute, including asking about the opposition's legal theories and factual bases for their claims.
Requests for Disclosure: These are statutory questions that provide each side with background information of specific categories. Requests for Disclosure must be answered within 30 days. These requests are the same in every civil lawsuit, which include:
Requests for Production: These ask the litigant to produce documents and evidence that might apply to the case. In a divorce, you are entitled to inspect, photograph, and copy documents and tangible items that are within the scope of discovery. Requests for Production must be answered within 30 days. The documents might include:
Depositions: These allow your attorney to examine the witnesses before the actual trial takes place. The witness is placed under oath and must give a sworn testimony, which can be used during the actual trial. A deposition may be on written questions or on oral questions.
Additional discovery measures may also be utilized if these methods are unable to establish critical evidence. The court may order both parties to file a sworn inventory and appraisement of all property; a physical or mental examination on one or both parties; a subpoena of records held by third parties, and even compel them to attend deposition.
Rule 190 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure compels every case to be "governed by a discovery control plan." Every petition for divorce must declare the level discovery is to be conducted under. There are three levels to choose from.
Level 1 - divorces not involving children where the value of the marital estate is between zero and $50,000. This level was designed to protect people with smaller cases from an opponent's overzealous discovery. The rules include:
Level 2 - divorces which are not level 1 and do not have a discovery control plan making them level 3. The rules include:
Level 3 - divorces that are governed under a discovery control plan submitted by the parties and signed by the court. This plan must include:
The court can modify any discovery control plan and must allow additional discovery related to new information disclosed in the discovery process. Your San Antonio divorce attorney will explain which level your case should be conducted under.
Our clients can login to their account to access case documents and assignments and maintain close contact with their attorney.
Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P.
12000 Huebner Road Ste. 200 San Antonio, Texas 78230
You can now pay your bill securely on our website