Discovery in Custody Actions
In Texas child custody disputes, the best interest of the child is the courts’ foremost concern, and they take significant measures to ensure that custody decisions are made based on relevant information and evidence. Discovery plays a vital role in helping courts make custody determinations, as it allows parties to gather pertinent facts and evidence. As such, it is essential for anyone involved in the process of determining parental rights to understand the significance of discovery in custody actions, as well as what discovery methods are available. If you are a party to a custody action, it is critical to speak to a lawyer promptly. At McClure Law Group, our assertive Dallas child custody attorneys understand how important it is to protect the relationship between a parent and a child, and if you retain our services, we will work tirelessly to help you seek the outcome you deserve.Methods of Discovery in Custody Actions in Texas
Discovery is a process parties engage in during custody lawsuits, through which they seek any information and evidence that pertains to their positions in the case and any disputed issues. When parties in custody matters disagree over either parent’s fitness to care for a child or what is in the child’s best interests, they will often engage in discovery.
Texas allows for multiple methods of discovery in custody actions, the two most common of which are interrogatories and requests for production. Parties in custody actions will often employ interrogatories and request for production to seek information about the child’s needs, the party’s and child’s medical history, and the criminal history of the party and anyone in their household, and anything else that may impact custody determinations.
Interrogatories are written questions sent from one party to another that generally seek factual information or the legal basis for certain positions. Pursuant to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, parties must answer interrogatories truthfully within thirty days of service and, with few exceptions, must verify that their responses are accurate by signing them under oath.
Requests for production are written requests for documents and tangible evidence that may support a party’s position or impact a court’s decision. As with interrogatories, a party must respond to requests for production within thirty days of service; they do not have to be verified under oath, however.
In some cases, a party may request a custody evaluation to assess the psychological status of the child, parents, and other people in their household, to better enable the court to determine the child's best interests. These evaluations typically involve interviews, observations, and assessments conducted by third parties that are deemed qualified by the courts.
Finally, in many custody actions, the parties will conduct depositions, which are question and answer sessions between an attorney and a party, witness, or expert under oath. Depositions allow parties to gain more comprehensive answers, explore complex matters, determine if further discovery is necessary, and assess credibility.Why Discovery in Custody Actions Is Important
Discovery in custody actions is important for several reasons. First, it not only allows parties to collect evidence that supports their positions, but the information obtained also helps the courts to understand children’s needs, routines, and medical history, and the parties’ fitness, so that they can make informed decisions regarding conservatorship of and access to the children. Discovery can also help parents gain a clearer understanding of their co-parent’s position, which could lead to mutually agreeable custody arrangements without the need for a trial.Consult a Skilled Dallas Attorney
By utilizing various methods of discovery, parents can obtain the facts necessary to demonstrate what custody arrangement is in their child's best interests and present a well-supported case in court. If you have questions about the use of discovery in custody actions, it is wise to consult with an attorney. The capable Dallas child custody attorneys of McClure Law Group have ample experience helping people protect their interests in custody disputes, and if we represent you, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We frequently represent clients in Dallas, Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, Frisco, and other cities within Dallas, Rockwall, Grayson, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. To set up a meeting, you can contact us via our online form or by calling us at 214.692.8200.