Discovery and What can be Obtained


I have initiated the process to modify an existing child support agreement with my ex-wife. We know that she received the modification for child support order that we sent via certified mail. The modification for support was received by her the first week of August and we are supposed to meet the first week of November to discuss when our case will go to trial (as I understand this is called the pre-trail term?).

My questions are:

  1. When can I initiate the discovery process? Since we go to court the first week of November to discuss a trial date there is only a month before the this initial pre-trial term(?) date. Do we or should we have everything ready before this initial date or is this not necessary for this initial date?
  2. How do you initiate the discovery process? Can it only be done with a court order or can be done by the plaintiff without a lawyer ?
  3. What items can be requested during discovery? I would like to see my ex’s bank statements and proof that she has been paying rent, utilities, any type of marital contract (such as pre-nup dictating what she may now own), etc.
  4. How long would she have to complete the paperwork?

I would appreciate your expertise if there may have been anything that I may have missed.



You can file a motion with the court to compel discovery if your ex is not turning over documents voluntarily. If litigation ensues you can file discovery and obtain her bank account and rent information. It depends on what your local rules state regarding mandatory disclosures (if anything). If she doesn’t comply voluntarily, you need to file your discovery with the clerk under the appropriate file number, include a certificate of service, and mail it to the other side on the date listed on your certificate of service. You don’t need to send discovery requests by certified mail. Regular mail is just fine. You can file the discovery and send it to her attorney if she has one, otherwise send it to her.

If that order for discovery is not complied with within 30 days (60 if she files an extension) then you will need to file a motion for contempt. See if she will agree to a voluntary production of documents to exchange with each other first. If not, then you need to file to compel discovery. It doesn’t sound like you have a trial date yet.