All You Need to Know about the Divorce Discovery Process

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce Attorneys in Orange County; The Maggio Law Firm, Inc.Many times, in order to win the situation and obtain a favorable final verdict, a spouse might attempt to keep his or her assets undisclosed or hidden from the law during a divorce litigation process. In California and most other states, the law provides divorcing partners with a powerful legal tool known as the ‘discovery process’ that can effectively help them in uncovering the hidden income and assets of their spouses. The discovery process can be broadly classified into three basic categories or forms.

Written discovery

Interrogatories or ‘requests for admission’ are a set of written questions that you can present to your spouse, and demand from him a factual version of your claims as answers in writing. In other words, by using this tool you can ask your partner to admit to certain statements that you believe are true. You can either present pre printed questionnaires referred to as ‘form interrogatories’ or design you own set of questions known as ‘special interrogatories’, that are relevant to your specific case. Furthermore, you can also employ the use of ‘Requests for admission’ which demand the other party to either deny or admit specific facts that are relevant to your case. 

Document production

The legal system of America entitles an individual to the right of demanding a disclosure or presentation of documents such as financial statements, tax returns, account records or loan applications that he or she believes are being deliberately concealed or withheld. In addition to printed hard copies, the court of law allows a party to further demand an access to the computer files and database of their spouse as well. There have been plenty of reported cases, wherein the stakes were extremely high for the courts to even go to the extent of asking the divorcing parties to reconstruct deleted files such as email conversations. 

Depositions

The deposition tool requires the parties to present themselves before the court and take a sworn testimony in front of a court reporter, regarding the authenticity of various facts relevant to a case. The court reporter will pen down a transcript of all the questions asked by the attorney and the oral deposition that you will be making under an oath. Such depositions can last from somewhere between an hour to more than a week.

The discovery process is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive knowledge of the evidence rules and an expertise in legal strategies. It is therefore, advised to consult a proficient attorney before moving ahead with the process.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What To Know About Subpoenas in a California Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers orange countyMoney and assets are key players in divorce proceedings. To get the most out of their divorce, partners are often desperate to find an evidence against each other. When you are preparing for or defending against a California family-law matter, a powerful tool called the ‘Subpoena’ can be used.

What is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a request, writ, or summons issued by a court of law or governing body which compels the recipient to appear in court or produce physical evidence in a case. It is a mandatory procedure which has to be fulfilled, the  failure of which results in a penalty.

In cases where the subpoena does not impact the case in any way or the records are bound by confidentiality rules, the recipient can object and refuse to comply with the subpoena. If you have legal representation, then the subpoena is issued by an ‘attorney of record’, else a clerk of the court will do it for you.

Using a subpoena, you are able to

  • Provide accurate documents supporting your case because the recipient of the subpoena is compelled by law to do so.
  • Get the documents certified by a member of the court. This makes the documents a valid admission in court even if your partner objects to it, providing an exception to the California hearsay rule.
  • Get your attorney fees reimbursed.

Types of subpoenas

Depending on the type of matter on hand and the client’s needs, there are 3 types of subpoenas.

  1. Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Hearing or Trial

A civil subpoena is used to compel a witness to appear in court in order to provide evidence against the other party. It is often used to coerce the witness into pressuring the opposing party to cooperate.

  1. Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) meant for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents as well as Things At Trial Or Hearing and Declaration

It is similar to the civil subpoena but requires the witness to bring documents and records supporting their case to the trial or hearing.

  1. Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records

The deposition subpoena requests parties to present business records such as credit card statements, bank records, employment records, medical records etc. This can be used for parties who have declared their income as less than what they are actually making.

A subpoena is a useful procedure which may help you win your case. Ensure you engage the services of a good family-law attorney to prepare you for subpoenaing records and witnesses.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Use of Texts and Emails as Evidence in a Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmGetting a divorce is never easy, both mentally and emotionally. It is a finality which confirms the end of your relationship. There are feelings of anger, hate, betrayal, hurt, and animosity. Such feelings are common when dealing with high-conflict cases such as those involving domestic abuse or child custody and get out of hand pretty easily.

When the conflict begins to border on the abuse, you can bring it to the court’s attention and request for a restraining order or modify custody terms for your partner. The law cannot request someone to modify their behavior and act nicely.

Not every conflict is verbal. When you are caught up in such a situation, your only chance of communicating with your partner is through emails or texts. The issue is when you want to use them as evidence in your favor. The court has the authority to admit emails and texts as evidence as long as an evidentiary foundation has been laid for it in court and as long as it has been shown that there have been no alteration of the emails and texts.

But it is important to have an open line of communication with the other parent.  So what can you do in order to continue communicating with your partner without using personal emails, texts, or the phone? The solution is TalkingParents.com, a website dedicated to parties who want to keep their communication lines open without including a personal medium. Both partners can ‘talk’ with each other only through the website. They maintain records of your communication, ensuring they are not manipulated by any means. The site allows you to discuss your custody schedules, agreements of any kind and limits communication only to what is necessary.

The result of communicating through a site like TalkingParents.com is that you can use their records of your interactions as evidence in court by paying them a nominal fee. It is accepted by the court under the California ‘business records’ hearsay exception rule.

Here are the benefits of using TalkingParents.com.

  1. It is free and easy to use.
  2. You can directly communicate with your partner instead of using a mediator.
  3. You can resolve issues in a civil manner because the records can be used in court.
  4. Communications are conducted securely.

Apart from being able to use it in court, the site can also help in reducing conflicts among parties. It is a better way to communicate with your partner than through texts and emails.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

 
No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.