RI Divorce Discovery: Interrogatories, Request for Documents, Etc.

An experienced RI divorce lawyer answers numerous questions about domestic law practice in Providence Family Court. What is ” Discovery” in Rhode Island Divorce? How do I get information about my Spouse? How do I get information about Marital Assets and Debts? In some cases, husband or wife may be hiding assets or stashing away money in a safe deposit box. In other cases, one spouse is completely unaware of the nature and extent of the marital estate.

You should contact a Rhode Island divorce lawyer to get advice on how to handle your RI divorce case

Discovery is a process by which the parties get information or admissions from their spouse. Parties can at their option proceed with “discovery”. Discovery is most important and perhaps crucial in a case in which a spouse is unaware of the extent of the marital assets and estate. Discovery can be a useful to obtain documents or other tangible evidence that is needed for settlement or trial. RI discovery can also be used to obtain admissions of certain allegations.

It is immoral for a person to lie about cheating or an affair to their spouse. It is not illegal or a criminal act for a person to lie to their spouse about an affair. If a person lies under oath either in testimony or in a written document under oath, they may be committing perjury. If a Rhode Island Family Court judge believes a party is lying under oath there could be sanctions. This may include a referral to the Rhode Island Attorney General for prosecution. Most incidents of lying in Rhode Island Family Court are not prosecuted.

interrogatories and request for admission

Many Rhode Island Divorce Attorneys use interrogatories or request for admissions to force the other party to state under oath whether they had an affair and the extent and details concerning the extra-marital affair / infidelity / cheating.  There are several discover tools that can be used by Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers: Request for Production of Documents, Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, Depositions, Subpoena Duces Tecum, etc.

Should I take the Deposition of my spouse in a RI Divorce?

A Deposition is when a party usually through their lawyer, asks their spouse questions under oath in front of a court reporter. Depositions are usually held in the conference room of a Law Office. In Rhode Island Family Court, a party must obtain leave of court / permission from the court in order to take a deposition. Motions to take deposition of the other party are almost always granted by Rhode Island Family Court Judges. Depositions are a powerful yet expensive discovery tool.

A deposition can be very effective because the Rhode Island divorce attorney can ask the other party questions face to face. The attorney can ask follow-up questions and can ask questions in different ways. This is particularly effective if a party is being evasive or less than forthcoming. There is very little the other Rhode Island Attorney can do to help their clients answer the questions during a deposition.

Depositions can be very expensive because the Court reporter transcript could cost several hundred dollars. Also, the Family Law attorney taking the deposition will need perhaps several hours to prepare for the deposition. Both Rhode Island Divorce Lawyers will be required to attend the deposition, which could take up to several hours. Depositions are usually better ways to get information about sensitive topics rather than written interrogatories.

What are Request for Admissions in Rhode Island divorce?

Requests for Admissions when used properly can be a very effective Discovery tool in a Rhode Island Divorce. Request for admissions are written requests usually prepared by the attorney. The other party must reply within a short period of time. If the party does not reply to the Request for Admissions within the applicable time, the allegations will be deemed admitted.

Interrogatories-what are they? Are they worth the time and effort? What types of questions can be asked?

Interrogatories are written questions that a party may sends to the other party. Each side is allowed up to 32 interrogatories. Interrogatories can be helpful in obtaining a description of assets, allegations that will be made or other information.

The information requested in Interrogatories can run the gamut from Child Support to marital infidelity. The Information requested often, includes, child custody issues, child visitation, disability and life insurance, criminal history, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, alimony, health insurance issues, real estate issues, estate planning and trust issues, Rhode Island Personal Injury Claims, trust and estate info, domestic violence / restraining orders, valuation of assets, mental health history and any Rhode Island Family Law matters.

Interrogatories answers are usually partially written and also reviewed by your spouse’s lawyer. Interrogatories must be answered in the time frame set by the Rhode Island Domestic Court Rules. There are some limitations to the usefulness of the information and answers received because the answers are usually written by your spouse’ Attorney.

Subpoenas duces tecum

A Subpoena is essentially a court order to bring certain documents to court. A Subpoena Duces Tecum can be very effective in obtaining documents from third parties such as bank records, stock records, employment and wage records and other documents.

Should I send request for production of documents?

Request for production of documents is a list of requested documents that must be responded to within the applicable time period. I find this discovery tool to be particularly successful in obtaining documents and records including: pension plan documents, 401k records, retirement accounts, health insurance records, stock accounts, estate planning documents, credit card debts, bank statements, real estate documents etc.

Rhode Island Attorneys legal Notice per RI Rules of Professional Responsibility:

The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer or attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice