This is the next post in my series discussing a father’s attempt to change child custody following a parental abduction in Las Vegas, Nevada. The previous post explained the process to request a modification of the existing custody arrangement when an abduction has occurred. The outcome of the initial hearing will be largely dependent on the types of evidence presented to support the change request. I also explained the importance of retaining an attorney with experience in family law matters to help protect you and your child’s interests. In this post I will discuss the importance of discovery once a trial date has been set. Because child custody modifications are fact specific, the evidence obtained through the discovery process will be essential to your case. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Discovery is the legal process by which you will gather information from the other party in a lawsuit. The discovery process typically begins once a trial date has been scheduled. There are several primary ways of obtaining information through discovery. Interrogatories, or written questions, may be submitted to the other party, who will respond with written answers. Your attorney may submit Requests for Production, which may be used to request specific documentation, records, and other physical items. Last, depositions may be used to obtain testimony from the other parent or witnesses. A deposition is taken in front of a Court Reporter and the answers are provided under oath. A transcript of the deposition testimony may be used to verify that testimony given at trial is consistent with the answers originally provided.
Contrary to popular belief, attorneys do not introduce “surprise” evidence at trial. Evidence is gathered methodically in advance of trial through the discovery process to build a party’s case. For example, if a father is seeking a change of custody based on the mother’s alcoholism, he may enter an arrest report for a DUI into evidence. To demonstrate that the mother’s problem is chronic, he may use the discovery process to request credit card records to show frequent charges at a bar or employment records indicating that she has been reprimanded for being drunk at work. All of this information would be gathered through discovery and used at trial to support the father’s claims that a change of custody would be in the best interest of the child.
There are specific and sometimes complicated rules that govern the discovery process and the use of evidence at trial. These rules are strictly enforced. If not followed properly, then key information in support of your case could be excluded. For these reasons, it is crucial to engage a lawyer with experience in these matters to ensure that your case has the best chance of success. My firm is dedicated to representing Las Vegas fathers in family law matters. Contact my office today to speak to an attorney.