Discovery begins after the divorce proceedings are initiated and gives each side an opportunity to obtain information that will assist in preparing their case. It is a critical part of the litigation process in divorce cases in the state of Georgia. At the conclusion of the proceedings the court will have to decide issues such as
- How much child support a parent has to pay
- Whether alimony should be ordered and how much, and
- How property should be divided between the parties
The problem with discovery is that sometimes the other party is less than willing to turn over some of the requested information. The information requested is often very personal in nature so it is not hard to see how certain requests can create opportunities for conflict. Husbands and wives are usually able to anticipate when a relationship is heading towards an end. This can sometimes provide an opportunity to conceal assets. However, often times, during the discovery process experienced lawyers are able to uncover additional items such as bank accounts, retirement accounts and other assets that a party may be entitled to a share under the doctrine of equitable division.
Upon requests for discovery pursuant to a divorce filing each party is required to complete a domestic relations financial affidavit (DRFA). This document lists all of the assets and liabilities of the parties. Further, each party is required to affirm that they have disclosed all relevant information and documents. In the event that an attorney has good faith to believe that the other party is less than forth coming they can file a motion to compel with the court. This is usually followed by a letter to the opposing side information them of an intent to file this notice with the court. Under O.C.G.A §9-11-37 a party may file a motion compelling discovery. Under that statute, if a person fails to answer a question propounded, answer an interrogatory or provides evasive or incomplete answers the court will require the party whose conduct necessitated the motion or the attorney advising such conduct to pay the moving party the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney’s fees. Additionally, the party found to be in violation of the discovery rules runs the risk of this having a negative impact on the outcome of the case.
A Motion to compel is a useful tool to force the opposing party to produce items such as bank statements, tax documents, answers to interrogatories, emails, text messages and a host of other documents that would assist in the preparation for your case. An experienced Divorce and Family law attorney can advise you as to the documents that you need to request from the opposing party and also help you properly respond to discovery requests. Most importantly, if the opposing party is not fully cooperating with your discovery requests your attorney can enlist the assistance of the court to ensure that there are consequences. Attorneys at the Faucette Law Firm, LLC represent clients in all family law and divorce related matters. We serve Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb. Carroll, Paulding, Coweta, Henry, Fayette, Clayton and Gwinnett. Contact our office today for a consultation.