The purpose of discovery is to find out the key points and elements of your spouse’s case. The other purpose is to “lock them in”, so whatever their position is it remains constant and your attorney will have the ability to prepare defenses. What is said and done in discovery should be taken very seriously as discovery responses are admissible in evidence at hearings in your case. Discovery is generally necessary whether the case is to be settled or litigated. In order to properly settle the case, your attorney must have a general awareness of the facts involved in your case, particularly the financial facts. If the case is to be litigated, discovery is necessary in order to properly prepare and present the case at a final hearing. Family Court cases are not necessarily won by who is right; but, rather, are often times won by who does the better preparation. Formal discovery under the Kansas Rules of Civil Procedure generally consists of the following:
- (a) Depositions on Oral Examination: Depositions on oral examination are typically taken at one of the attorneys offices in the presence of a Court Reporter and while the deponent is under oath. You and your spouse have the right to be present (most attorneys prefer you to be present). The attorneys will ask questions at the deposition and the witness will give answers under oath. Depositions may be taken of you, your spouse and any of the witnesses involved in the case. Depositions are typically rather expensive as both parties are represented by attorneys, and the Court Reporter will take down and thereafter transcribe all of what is said. Court Reporters generally charge by the page, plus an appearance fee. It is not unusual for a deposition transcript to run several hundred pages, at a cost of between $200.00 and $1,000.00.
- (b) Interrogatories: The Kansas Rules of Civil Procedure allow for written Interrogatories or questions to be asked. Interrogatories generally ask questions calculated to determine who the key witnesses will be, who will be the experts, what the witnesses and experts will say, what documents will be used in the trial, and other specific questions directed to the key issues involved in your case. Those questions must be answered under oath within thirty days from the date the Interrogatories are served.
- (c) Production Requests: Production Requests allow your attorney to require the production of documents and other tangible things that are pertinent to your case. This would typically involve tax returns, appraisals, detective reports and photographs, financial statements, bank records, medical records, and the like. Production Requests must be responded to within thirty days from the date the Production Requests are served.
- (d) Requests to Admit: The Kansas Rules of Civil Procedure also allow your attorney to present statements of fact and law to your opponent and request that they either admit or deny those statements. If admitted, that eliminates the need for further proof on that issue. Requests to Admit must be responded to within thirty days from the date the Requests to Admit are served.