Process of Discovery in a Divorce in Georgia
For all parties involved, starting a divorce proceeding may be a daunting task. A party to a lawsuit can use the discovery process to get information from the other party or other parties. Any pertinent information, including that of bank records, child care bills, and business data, may be obtained and used as evidence in the divorce.
Simply put, as you begin the divorce process, your divorce lawyer may explain the term “discovery” to you as a means of obtaining important information from the opposing side. More often than not, your attorney may use an informal mode of discovery, but on the occasion that a ‘formal discovery’ does happen, the process for it is explained in a simple manner below. Keep reading to know more about this process.
Under the Georgia Civil Practices Act, both parties have complete and comprehensive discovery powers after a contended action for divorce is filed. According to the relevant sections of that act, there are some general aspects that need to be followed when it comes to a formal discovery process.
Interrogatories have a distinct benefit in that they allow you to ask the other side whatever question you want, as long as it is related to the case in some way. The questions would normally be related to information about yourself, such as your name, the names of everyone living with you, your legal address, and your education. They may also be related to information about your job, including a three-year work history and a summary of all of your sources of income, or even children’s information, such as any relevant expenditures, any special requirements your child may have, and any current child plans, if any.
- Requests for Admission
These are basically inquiries in which the opposing party is required to make factual admissions about the case. Requests for admission are carefully constructed queries that vary from interrogatory questions in that they are not open-ended. They demand a response of “admit” or “deny.”
Depositions can be taken at any moment during discovery in a divorce dispute, according to Georgia law. A deposition is a face-to-face questioning that involves cross-examination and examination, similar to what would be seen in court. The witness testifies under oath during the deposition, and his or her evidence is documented (with video and/or audio). During the procedure, both parties’ attorneys might raise objections. A party might also ask the Court to curtail or suspend the deposition if they can show that it is being conducted in bad faith.
Things to Remember
In some divorce cases, one of the parties will reject or fail to respond to discovery. Alternatively, they may respond to discovery but deliver inadequate responses. When this occurs, the initial step would be for your attorney to contact the other party or attorney in order to fix the issue. If that doesn’t work, do not worry. Georgia law allows you to use a formal process called a Motion to Compel to force the opposing party to answer. If the Motion to Compel is granted, the Court may compel the party that failed to reply adequately to pay the other party’s reasonable attorney’s costs and expenses incurred in pursuing the Motion to Compel.
Because each divorce is unique, your demands during the discovery process will be as well. Make sure that you are informed about the basics of the process, and have an attorney who advices you about the right steps for the best outcome in your case.