Discovery in a Contested Georgia Divorce
Once a contested action is filed, both parties have full and broad discovery powers under the Georgia Civil Practices Act ("CPA"). The principal sections of the CPA are contained in O.C.G.A. section 9-11-26 (general rules), 9-11-30 (depositions), 9-11-33 (interrogatories), 9-11-34 (requests for production of documents), and 9-11-36 (admissions). Section 24-13-27 of the new evidence code provides for the right to demand production of documents at a hearing or final trial. And the parties may utilize Title 24, which is separate from the CPA, to obtain discovery from third parties.
The CPA broadly provides all parties (both spouses) the right to thoroughly investigate all claims and defenses. O.C.G.A. section 9-11-26(b)(1) provides:
"The parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action ... It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence;"
These discovery powers include the right to serve and propound interrogatories (up to 50), requests for admissions, and requests for the production of documents on parties and non parties. Your Atlanta divorce attorney also has the right to conduct depositions of parties and subpoena non parties to come to depositions and produce documents or, under Title 23, produce documents at hearings. Further, if there are critical out of state witnesses who may not be subject to a Georgia subpoena, you can seek discovery under the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act. If you engage Atlanta Divorce Lawyer Russell Hippe you will be assured that discovery will be used to your maximum advantage.
As Mr. Hippe has a general trial practice, he has personally been involved in complex federal discovery matters, which exceed the scope of discovery in a typical Atlanta divorce. He has experience in electronic discovery. He has extensive experience in conducting the depositions of parties and non parties. He has also defended against overly aggressive discovery demands and has secured protective orders that have protected his client's privacy and the security and integrity of sensitive financial information. See, O.C.G.A. section 9-11-26(c)(protective orders).What Documents Can I Get? Very generally, the CPA entitles either you or your spouse to any and all relevant tangible and electronic financial records (that can be produced in tangible format - Quick Books data for example), account statements, electronic records that can be produced in tangible format - including all emails and possibly deleted emails (if they can be retrieved off the hard drive of any personal computer that is examined by a technical expert), cell phone records (usually only phone numbers, not the substance of text messages), journals, diaries, tax returns, insurance policies, etc. All relevant documents that your spouse has in his or her possession or that he can secure through the exercise of proper diligence.
My spouse is a skilled liar - Will the truth ultimately come out? With effort - yes - 90% of the time. If you are concerned about possible adultery or financial shenanigans, Mr. Hippe will use the full extent of the broad discovery rules of the CPA to get to the truth.
Can My Privacy Be Protected? Yes, if the court grants your motion for a protective order. If you are concerned that your spouse may invade your privacy and make improper use of certain information, contact Atlanta divorce attorney Russell Hippe who can help by filing for a protective order and challenging the discovery request and / or requesting an order that any produced information or documentation be kept strictly confidential.