Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Complying with Discovery in Divorce and Custody Cases

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Family Law in General » Complying with Discovery in Divorce and Custody Cases

In divorce and child custody cases in Illinois and Iowa, Discovery is an important part of the case. Discovery refers to the process through which each side in a divorce or custody case is entitled to gather information from the other side, for use in court later.  It is important to comply with discovery, as a failure to do so can result in significant harm to a case.


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It is common in divorce and custody cases for each attorney to send Discovery, which includes Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests to Admit. Each of those discovery tools serves a different but related purpose – gathering the information that will be needed to properly take the case to trial (or to persuade the other side to settle the case on terms favorable to the client). Discovery is key part of handling a divorce or custody case, and in many cases the process of properly handling discovery can make it possible to resolve the case more quickly, less expensively, and more favorably for the client.

A party that does not comply with discovery can be made by the court to pay attorney fees to the other side. The courts in Illinois and Iowa will do that in order to make it so that the side which didn’t comply with discovery bears a cost for failing to do what it should have done in the first place.

In situations where a party continues to fail to comply with discovery, the court can impose even harsher sanctions. The most severe sanction that a court tends to impose for a failure to comply with discovery is to bar a non-complying party from introducing evidence at trial or calling witnesses. When barred from presenting their case, a party will almost surely lose at trial in a rather spectacular fashion.


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Compliance with discovery is in every person’s best interests, as failing to do so can cost a party money or even cause the party to lose their case. A person who is having difficulty complying with discovery should discuss the matter with their attorney at once, as there are strict time limits that apply to discovery compliance in both Iowa and Illinois.


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