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Divorce and New Discovery Rules in the State of Texas

Divorce and New Discovery Rules in the State of Texas

The discovery component of divorce refers to the requests for documents, evidence, and other information needed from your spouse in support of your case. The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure guide discovery, and while discovery used to be optional in divorce cases, it was often necessary for divorces involving complicated assets or that were especially contentious. Discovery, however, is no longer optional.

Changes in Discovery Laws

On January 1, 2021, new rules of discovery went into effect, and as such, they only affect those divorce cases filed as of this date. The new rules mandate all of the following:

  • All divorce cases must now conduct an initial disclosure phase of discovery, and no additional discovery can begin until these initial disclosures are complete.

  • Each spouse must file his or her response to the initial disclosures within 30 days of answering to be considered timely.

  • Failure to comply with this change in discovery requirements can hurt your case – even if you otherwise would have no need for the discovery process in your divorce.

The initial disclosures involved include:

  • The correct names of both parties in the divorce case

  • The correct address and telephone number of both parties in the divorce case

  • The legal theories and the general facts that the responding party is basing his or her claim or defense upon (you are not required to provide all the evidence you plan on presenting at trial)

  • A reckoning of any damages claimed by the respondent

  • The name, address, and telephone number of those who may have knowledge of relevant facts

  • Thorough documentation of all financial holdings and assets 

It used to be that divorcing spouses took weeks or even months to gather all the necessary financial and informative documents necessary for their cases, but the new rules do not allow for this kind of time. Both parties must be prepared to produce the information and supporting documents requested at the time that the initial disclosures are due.

Increased Efficiency

The idea behind this change is to help facilitate more timely, cost-effective resolutions to civil cases, such as divorces, by requiring that both spouses automatically disclose basic discovery – without waiting for a request. As such, none of the following will excuse either spouse from making his or her own timely disclosures:

  • Because the party has not made a thorough enough investigation of the case (in other words, not being prepared is not an excuse)

  • Because the party challenges the adequacy of his or her spouse’s disclosures

  • Because the party’s spouse has failed to provide his or her disclosures in a timely manner

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce laws evolve, and Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, understands exactly how important it is to remain ahead of these changes in order to effectively and efficiently guide your case toward a favorable resolution. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information about how we can help you today.

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