Requests for Production is about requesting documents and inspection of tangible things. (emails, letters, photos, bank statements, tax returns, payroll stubs, etc.)
Requests for production work much the same way as interrogatories, with some differences. You do not need to sign the responses under oath but you do have to produce the requested documents. Your responses are due 30 days from the date that they were sent to us. We will need your response within 20 days to allow time for us to answer the request and serve the other side. This portion of the discovery process can be the most difficult and frustrating aspect of it all. Please do your best to help us help you. Go to Office Depot and buy a box of manila folders to put your production responses in and keep them organized. You may need a banker box or two or three to properly answer the request. Depends on the case. If you have a scanner, you can create an electronic file with folders instead of a paper file. If you are scanning your documents, please produce them in 300 DPI black and white adobe pdf format (unless color pictures are being produced).
Please do not come to us with remarks such as “he knows that,” “she doesn’t need that,” and “why am I having to do all of this.” He may indeed know that, or she may be able to get it, but it is not for you to decide whether she needs it or not.” This only compounds the discovery frustration.
If the other side has requested, for example, bank records for the last 3 years, please go online and download those records if you do not already have them. If the other side has requested 10 years of documents we will probably object to the request as being unreasonable or provide a release (then they can go to the bank, request the records, and pay for the records.” Even if I object, you still have to make a good effort at answering to the best of your ability.
You do not need to create documents you do not have. But, if the documents exist you do have to try and find them or get them.
Unless you have a credit report laying around already, do not go purchase a credit report.
Grab a sheet of paper and at the top write “RFP Request #’s with no documents after searching.” This is your No Documents List. Set it aside.
If request #1 is “All documents evidencing a contractual relationship between yourself and your attorney.” Get your contract and put it in a manila folder and write on the outside of the folder RFP 1 (if you are creating an electronic file label your folder RFP 1).
If request #2 is something like “All voice recordings of you and your spouse” and you have never made a recording and so you know that no recording exists, write RFP #2 on your No Documents List and move on to #3.
Once you have sifted through all the requests, and there may be many, you will have a nice stack of manila folders with your documents organized. Now what to do with it?
We will have to provide copies of these documents to the other side. I prefer to provide electronic copies of the documents produced in discovery. Therefore, if you have the ability to scan documents that will save you some money or even if you took the documents to a copy shop it would probably be cheaper to have them do the scanning than to pay my paralegal’s hourly rate to do that. When producing scanned documents, produce 300 DPI black and white adobe pdf format (unless color pictures are being produced).
In Harris County, Texas they have a standing order regarding the mandatory disclosure of information and documents in every divorce, annulment and child support modification case currently pending. Although your case may not be a Harris County case, it is a good idea to gather these documents together now. You will be ahead of the game.
- All documents pertaining to real estate owned by you and/or your spouse.
- All documents pertaining to any pension, retirement, profit-sharing, or other employee benefit plan, together with the most recent account statement for any plan.
- All documents pertaining to any life, casualty, liability, and health insurance policy.
- The most recent statement pertaining to any account located with any financial institution including, but not limited to banks, savings & loans, credit unions, and brokerage firms.
- All policies, statements, and description of benefits which reflect any and all medical and health insurance coverage that is or would be available for your child or spouse.
- Your last two income tax returns.
- Your two most recent payroll check stubs, or, if payroll check stubs are unavailable, your latest Form W-2.
- A completed Financial Information Statement (provided by us).