DISCOVERY – What is my attorney talking about when they use the word discovery?

In order to ascertain certain information an attorney will serve discovery on an opposing party, requesting that party to respond to questions and/or provide documents. These pre-trial devices are utilized by attorneys to obtain facts and information about the case from another party in order to assist the attorney’s preparation for trial. However, not everything that an attorney asks questions about or requests documents for may be admissible in a court. For example, an inadmissible matter may occur in a custody matter when an attorney wants to ascertain who may testify at the hearing and what that potential witness will state. In responding to the discovery, a party may provide information stating that the babysitter has information about statements the child has made to the babysitter. This information, due to the hearsay rule, is discoverable but may be inadmissible at a hearing.

If your attorney requests that you respond to Interrogatory questions that have been served on you, you should provide your attorney all information requested. Your attorney will then finalize your responses to the discovery. Questions are often asked to determine information about the party’s employment, and why a custody battle may be looming.

If you are asked to provide documents in response to a Request for Production of Documents, you should provide to your attorney all documents that you think are responsive to this request. Once again, it will be up to your attorney’s discretion whether to provide the documentation. Typically a family law attorney will request the following: bank statements, real estate and personal property appraisals, tax returns, paystubs, credit card statements, financial declarations and any other information relevant to your case are often the most requested documentation. 

You have picked your attorney because of their knowledge of the law. Knowing what to produce for a Request for Production of Documents or how to respond to an Interrogatory is part of your attorney’s legal knowledge and experience. Providing all information in your possession to your attorney can help save your attorney’s time and thus your money.

Information provided by the law firm of Kirtley, Taylor, Sims, Chadd & Minnette, PC. For more information contact them at 317-550-4333 or visit them online at www.KirtleyTaylorLaw.com.