So I have received interragatories and a request for documents and intangible things in my very complicated custody case and I am having a really hard time knowing what to say/ share in a lot of it. The interragatories specifically ask why I think my husband is an unfit parent and why I think that the Plaintiffs are unfit to parent my children, who gives the girls their baths here, how many partners have I had or dates I have been on since Dec 1, 2017 (this one just feels irrelevant and mostly there to try to embarrass me)etc. And for the most part I am pretty much ok answering them, even though i can’t see how me having one boyfriend for just over a year now matters in my parenting skills. The documents thing though is killing me partially because I am having to be “pro se” as I cant afford a lawyer and I know I am expected to have the same standards as a lawyer to get the documents they want but I don’t know what/how to do it correctly and partially because I really don’t know what they are actually entitled to. They have asked for my medical records for the past few years, any mental health records from the same period, all communications between my co defendant and I reaching back to Jan 1 2015 (their son and I weren’t even married yet and the oldest daughter was not born until November that year), all communications on any dating site or social networking site, all correspondence mentioning my children and the pending litigation, all correspondence and records from any Facebook, other social networks, dating sites including any emails sent from those services from 1/12/2017, complete originals of any caledars, diaries, daily notes (I don’t have any), copies of everything I plan to introduce at trial including audio, video, and pictures, complete copies of all my bank statements since 1/12/2017, documents evidencing or showing me getting money from a third party unless its in the above requested bank statements, a copy of my lease. For what I can answer i don’t know how to get/format all the things that they are asking for and for some of this stuff I dont understand how it would be relevant and I feel more like the Plaintiffs are just trying to use this all in hopes I would be embarrassed and would agree to what they wanted. Im also overwhelmed with the issue of what printing all these things will cost and the Plaintiffs know I can’t afford it. Is there anything I can do to offset the cost for all this? How am I even supposed to print emails from Facebook or dating sites (had pof back in 2013ish) in all my email accounts because that is a lot of spam to have to sift through and the thought of having to print every single one by itself is pretty much torture. I was told I could also put it all on a flash drive. Also in way insult to injury the plaintiff’s lawyer is starting vacation tomorrow and will not be back until the day of court. And as far as my medical records I don’t feel like they should have free access to it all (husband and i have been separated for over a year and I am pregnant with the one boyfriend I have had since I moved).
These are generally standard discovery requests.
You can object to anything that is too burdensome to produce. For bank statements, emails, messages, etc. for example, you can produce them in electronic format. You do not need to print everything.
You can object to the requests for your medical records by saying that they are not reasonably calculated to lead to discoverable material. However, keep in mind that they could file a motion to compel you to produce these and the judge could order that you produce them if the judge believes they may be relevant in the particular issues of your custody case. For custody cases, there is a broad interpretation of what is relevant since minor children are involved.
For any documents that you do not have or do not exist, simply state so in your response to that particular request.
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