Discovery methods may be availed when preparing for a case

A party preparing for his family law case, particularly property settlement, may avail of discovery methods. The most common discovery methods are depositions and requests for production.

The two fold purpose of discovery methods are:

  • To prove the case of the examining party and
  • To disprove the case of the party examined.

Either party can ask for and receive information and documents from each side provided that these do not fall under privileged communication.

Deposition may be done by video tape recording but a person cannot be videotaped without his consent. The questions fired at by the deposition take must be clear and concise. Relevant documents must be clearly identified and the use thereof must be explained to the witness. The deponent is required to produce all the relevant documents in his possessions which are not privileged.

Usually documents that are non-contentions do not fall within the ambit of privileged communication such as financial statements, credit card statements, income tax returns and the like. If the subject of the dispute is a document, the existence of this document must first be proved before it can be accepted as evidence.

Discovery measures necessarily include the right to inspect the documents. This aids a party in ascertaining the veracity of the documents.

Discovery methods are highly encouraged by the courts because it saves costs and time. Before going to court parties have already reached an agreement on their admissions and the documents that they will present.