The Tools of Discovery in Divorce and Child Custody Litigation
By Amar S. Weisman, Esquire
What Is Discovery In The Circuit Court for Baltimore County Divorce and Child Custody Litigation?
Discovery is how lawyers obtain evidence. In Family Law cases, we can obtain evidence from the following sources:
- The Opposing Party
- Businesses including financial institutions
- Government agencies
Who Needs To Receive a Subpoena?
The Law Offices Of Amar S. Weisman, LLC has Issued Subpoenas And Notices To Take Depositions Duces Tecum To The Following Entities throughout the State of Maryland including schools, financial institutions, utilities, mortgagors, and state agencies from social services to the lottery commission. We will leave no stone unturned to obtain the evidence you need concerning grounds for divorce, legal custody, physical custody, marital property and child support.
Discovery Methods Pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-401.
- Depositions upon oral examination or written questions
- Written interrogatories
- Production or inspection of documents or other tangible things or permission to enter upon land or other property
- Mental or physical examinations
- Requests for admission of facts and genuineness of documents.
The party receiving the discovery request must provide whatever is requested provided it is (1) not privileged and (2) relevant to the issues of the case. Failure to provide discovery can lead to sanctions
- Interrogatories are questions that you ask in writing to the opposing party.
- Each party gets to ask 30 questions. More than 30 requires court approval.
- Here are three examples of interrogatories that might be asked in a child custody case:
- Example #1: "Identify yourself and all individuals with whom you reside. For each individual other than yourself, state that individual's age, relationship to you, and marital status. State your own birth date and social security number, employment number and driver's license number"
- Example #2: "List all child support payments you have made during the past twelve months."
- Example #3: "State whether you and the other parent have any major disagreements concerning the minor child(ren)’s education, religious upbringing, discipline, health care needs, and/or extracurricular activities, and, if so, detail the nature of each disagreement and each party's positions as you perceive it."
Depositions of the Opposing Party.
Divorce and Towson Child Custody lawyers have the right to question opposing parties during depositions-live, in-person, and under Oath. Depositions customarily occur at the questioning attorney’s office, in the presence of both family lawyers, the parties, and a licensed Maryland Court Reporter, whose job is to transcribe everything and deliver transcripts to the attorneys at a later date. Depending on how helpful the transcript is, either domestic relations attorney may wish to introduce portions of the transcript into evidence (subject to the Maryland Rules of Evidence).
Requests For Production, Inspection and Copying of Documents.
The Maryland Rules empower your Maryland family law lawyer to request documents from opposing parties. That makes sense because opposing parties often have crucial papers, videotapes, photographs and electronic data that you need to introduce as evidence in Circuit Court. Each Maryland divorce and child custody case is unique-sometimes the primary documents you need may be more “business” oriented, for example federal and Maryland tax returns, employment/business records, and copies of telephone and utility bills. In other cases, the documents will be more “personal,”i.e. e-mail correspondence, receipts for personal expenditures, passports, etc. Opposing parties produce as documents those exhibits they wish to introduce in court.
Mental and Physical Examinations.
The Maryland Rules of discovery permit obtaining a physical or mental health evaluation of the opposing party, in certain domestic relations situations. A mental or physical evaluation may be appropriate to determine fitness for having custody or visitation of a minor child, ability to work when a parent claims s/he cannot pay (or needs more) alimony or child support for medical reasons, and a variety of other circumstances.
Call (410) 321-4994 For A Consultation With Towson Divorce & Child Custody Family Lawyer Amar S. Weisman.
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