California Divorce and Family Law Discovery Sample Forms and Exemplars

California Divorce and Family Law Discovery Form Exemplar and Sample Library

First, I have a number of Blogs in our EnlightenedDivorceBlog™ library that you should read if you are seriously and intelligently attempting to get the information that is critical to your case, or is sorely being denied you by the other side, as a preliminary study of how to use the exemplars that I provide below. Our Blog is broken out into categories and I admit there is so much information I've written over these years that it is hard for me to manage it all as efficiently as I would like. Our on-board search engine will be of use to you.

Second, the work product that I've drafted over the course of many hundreds of cases is specific to those cases and you will need to adapt it to your issues. While this is not "one size fits all," I do try to provide exemplars that will cover what you need in terms of the basics. If you are not an attorney, you really do have to spend dozens of hours educating yourself, but I promise I've spent many hundreds of hours trying to make family law and family law litigation samples and exemplars available to you - so we are all suffering together -:).

  • Family Law Form Interrogatories

This is easy - there is a judicial council form FL-145 that you simply need to complete the caption on and send out. You should do this within the first 60 days of filing, or being served with, a Petition for Dissolution or Legal Separation. You are also entitled to use it in post-judgment RFO's to modify existing orders, but usually you will not have enough time to serve them and get responses before your hearing date. In post-judgment proceedings, or where there is a hearing pending within 60 days or less, you might still use these but chances are that the other side will stall or game you so that you don't receive the responses early enough for them to be useful. Remember, if you mail them this adds five days to the due date for a response, but also you cannot personally serve them on the other party yourself. You must use a process server or a credible friend instead.

  • Family Law Special Interrogatories

Other than by deposition, family law special interrogatories are hands-down the best way to get information or as a vehicle for limiting the other side from coming up with new stories later on in the litigation, but they must be adroitly written in order to be effective and may require a motion to compel further responses if you get bullshit responses. I provide (or will be) a series of exemplars for every critical aspect of a divorce or family law related case, including custodial disputes as I can crank it out.

  • Family Law Demands for Production

Demands for production of documents or things (i.e., photos) are likewise critically valuable in obtaining information that you, presumably as the "out-spouse," don't have. I will be providing you a series of versions directed to common property, income and related issues but until I do I've written some pretty detailed blogs on the subject that you should now read and consider.

At times, the only way you are going to get back onto real property or into the family home to do an inspection, or to allow your appraiser to do so, is through a formal request for inspection. Here is a simple sample form that you might use as a template.

  • Family Law Requests for Admission

Requests for Admission also utilize a judicial council form, the DISC-020, but they require that you actually draft the facts or identify the truth of the nature of the items that you are seeking have unequivocally and conclusively admitted. I will be providing samples. They should always be accompanied by the judicial council "form interrogatories-general" form DISC-001 with the appropriate boxes checked, and especially number 17.1. Always be sure to check the "definitions" box at page two of that form (i.e., "the pending dissolution" or "support proceeding") along with number 1.1. The beauty of Requests for Admission ("RFA's") is that any fact, or genuineness of a document, that is admitted it completely binding on the other party - but perhaps more importantly, since often they will be denied without a genuine basis to do so, if you use the civil general form interrogatories along with it, the responding party MUST identify each fact that supports their denial, all writings that support denial, and all witnesses they would call to at trial to refute the RFA. It is a powerful set up for liars, and is especially useful in setting up attorney fee and sanctions requests!

Here is a simple sanitized example of divorce related Requests for Admission addressing the types of questions that might be posed, together with the required declaration in the event the number of RFAs exceed 35. I will come back and provide a more specific exemplar in time.

  • Party and Witness Notices of Deposition and Demands for Production
  • Subpoenas and Notices to Appear and Produce Documents at Evidentiary Hearings, RFO's, and Trials

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