This is the next post in our series on the handling of child custody cases for unmarried Orange County, California parents who have already established paternity. Our last post discussed the initial steps of obtaining a child custody order. We suggest that parents obtain an order from the Court even if they are currently on good terms with the other. Doing so will help to prevent future conflict. In this post we will discuss the use of “discovery” in order to build a case which may presented at trial. Discovery is a crucial part of the litigation process and it is strongly suggested that you retain an attorney to assist you.
Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the other side in a lawsuit. The process provides several tools for obtaining such information. Requests for Production allow one to obtain written records and tangible items. Interrogatories are written questions to which the other side must provide written and detailed answers. Also, the deposition of the other party or any other witness may be taken. This is a process at which your lawyer will question the witness and they are required to give answers under oath. A court reporter will be present and your counsel will receive a transcript of the testimony.
Discovery is an important tool in any child custody case. Say, for example, that there is a dispute over the physical health of the other parent and whether they are able to care for the child. They can be required to sign a HIPPA release so that your counsel may obtain their medical records. Counsel could also use an Interrogatory to determine all of the medical providers with whom the other parent has treated within a certain period of time. Medical records could then be obtained from those providers via subpoena. Your counsel would then be able to present evidence of any serious medical issues at trial. Obtaining evidence in this fashion is crucial for your case. Contrary to what is shown on TV, trials are not won through “surprise evidence,” they are won through evidence that is collected during the discovery process.
It is important to have an experienced family law lawyer assisting you in building a child custody case. Discovery requests must be made in a certain form and within a certain period of time. Failing to follow these requirements can result in the other side not being obligated to answer your requests and in your not having necessary evidence at trial. Our Orange County child custody attorneys have extensive experience in building cases and are ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.
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