In any family law matter, each side is entitled to ask for and to receive documents and information from the other side. This process is called “discovery”. The most common forms of discovery are depositions and requests for production.
The purpose of an examination for discovery is two-fold:
- To prove the case of the examining party;
- To disprove the case of the party examined.
Examinations for discovery cannot be videotaped without prior consent. Therefore, the questions and answers must be clear and concise and the documents exhibited must be clearly identified and the use of the documents put to the witness clearly specified.
The person being discovered must produce for inspection all documents they have, which are not privileged, about the matters in question.
The documents are typically put into evidence at trial by agreement when the documents are non-contentious i.e. income tax returns, financial statements, rates notices, bank statements or credit card statements. However, in cases where there are documents in dispute, such as written agreements purported to be signed by one party or both parties, the existence of the documents has to be proven.
Each party is able to inspect and make copies of all documents submitted, called an inspection. This helps in understanding the other party’s financial circumstances and alerts you to any documents not produced. Having a thorough understanding of both parties’ financial circumstances can lead to an agreement reached prior to attending court. This helps reduce costs and time, benefiting both parties.
For help with what documents you need to produce, please contact Armstrong Legal.