If you are getting divorced, annulled, or seeking court direction in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, then get ready to produced all the things–and by things, we mean documents. Effective January 1, 2021, parties to new family law cases will be required to exchange certain documents whether they want to or not.
In a suit for divorce or annulment, the parties must produce documents falling under these general categories: (1) any and all real estate documents; (2) any and all financial documents; and (3) any and all documents relating to insurance coverage. The provisions of the new rule are intentionally broad, so you will want to disclose as much information as your attorney as possible. For example, on the one hand, the financial information required includes, but is not limited to, statements showing recent activity for pension plans, retirement plans, profit-sharing plans, employee benefit plans, and the like. You will also need to produce recent statements for bank accounts (checking and savings), loan accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, and more. “Real estate” isn’t necessarily defined, so this could be as basic a as a warranty deed or as specific as closing documents from every sale/purchase.
If your case involves child support and/or spousal support, you have the added fun of further producing: (1) all documents relating to medical and health insurance coverage; (2) tax returns for the previous two years; and (3) the party’s two most recent payroll check stubs.
And beyond these categories of documents, you will need to produce every document you wish to use at trial, unless it will be offered solely for impeachment. Yes, this means you are doing a lot of document gathering at the outset of your case so your attorney can determine what should actually be produced. While you would more often than not be exchanging these documents regardless, the new rule changes the overall process.
Namely, the manner in which the documents are requested and the timeline for production. Now, the documents must be produced within 30 days of the filing of an answer. Period. No request has to be made by either side to initiate the process. Where attorneys would previously assert objections to producing certain information, this practice will be highly restricted. Keep in mind this is not the only discovery that could be exchanged, as parties can still send additional requests for production and/or written interrogatories.
As always, navigating family law cases are difficult. You do not want to risk compromising your position because you failed to follow the latest and greatest discovery rules like those outlined herein. Yale Law knows how important it is to get your voice heard and makes a point to stay up-to-date with all rules bearing on the same. For questions or help with your family law matter, contact Yale Law today.