This is the next post in our series on changing child custody in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed the process of filing a Motion to change custody. It is important that your initial Motion include the facts and arguments supporting your request or else it will likely be denied outright. Retaining a family law attorney can assist you in making sure that your matter is being handled properly. In this article we will discuss the process of conducting discovery in preparation for trial. Discovery is an important part of preparing your case and it is suggested you contact a lawyer for assistance.
We previously discussed discovery in custody cases involving drug use. Many of these same concepts apply in other custody cases. The process provides your counsel with tools which can be used to gain information from the other side. Such tools can include written questions to which the other side must provide written answers. The opposing parent can also be required to provide records and other written documents. Witnesses may be ordered to appear before a Court Reporter and answer questions under oath at what is known as a “deposition.” A transcript of a witness’ testimony will be prepared and, should they attempt to change their story, then your lawyer can use the transcript to point out an inconsistencies.
In a matter which involves changing child custody it will be necessary to accumulate evidence which shows that the circumstances have changed since the last court order and that a modification is in the child’s best interests. If, for example, the change is being requested because a parent is neglecting the child’s education then discovery will focus on things which prove such neglect. This can include requiring the child’s teacher to appear for a deposition to discuss their interactions with the other parent, whether or not the child is regularly prepared for class, etc. Such evidence may then be presented at trial.
Contrary to what is often shown on television, trials are not won by surprise evidence that is uncovered at the last minute. Accumulating facts and evidence through the discovery process can take several months and failing to do so can result in a parent not having needed evidence at trial. When engaging in discovery the other side is obligated to answer your requests. If they fail to do so, or if they provide inadequate responses, the Court can issue an order compelling them to provide the requested information. In cases where the opponent refuses to provide the information it may be possible to win the case on the grounds of discovery violations. Handling such matters can quickly become complex and you should retain counsel who is experienced in doing so.
Our Orange County child custody attorneys have decades of combined experience and are ready to assist you in obtaining a modification. We understand that nothing is more serious than one’s children. We will take your situation seriously. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer. We service Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.