This is the next post in my series on changing child custody in Melbourne, Florida. My last article discussed the process of filing a change of custody request with the Court. It is important to understand that if your Supplemental Petition does not make a compelling case for the time share modification then the Brevard County Court may simply deny your request. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can assist you in ensuring that the matter is handled properly. In this article I will discuss the use of discovery once your trial date has been set. This is an important topic as discovery is crucial to building your case.
Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the other side in a lawsuit. This process will typically take place after the initial Court hearing, in preparation of your trial date. This process provides several tools for acquiring information. The first of these tools are Interrogatories, which are written questions which the other side must then answer in writing. Requests for Production can be used to require that the other side provide records, documents, and other physical items. Also, depositions can be used to require the other parent or a witness to appear and answer questions in the presence of a Court Reporter. Answers would be given under oath and a transcript of the deposition would be generated. If the party or witness attempts to change their testimony at trial then the transcript could be used to point out inconsistencies. There are other tools which can also be used to gather information.
Discovery is crucial to any case where a parent wishes to change child custody. Contrary to what you often see in the movies, trials are not won with “surprise evidence.” It is necessary for you to methodically gather evidence leading up to your trial. If, for example, you are alleging that the other parent has addiction issues then the process can be used to acquire medical records, employment files, police reports, and other information which can show a pattern of addiction. This is in addition to any drug testing which the court may perform. Melbourne residents who do not gather such evidence greatly reduce their chances of prevailing at trial.
It is important to understand that discovery is a complicated process with specific rules which must be followed. Failing to properly follow procedures can result in the other party not being required to answer your requests. This can leave you without needed information as trial approaches. Retaining an experienced attorney to assist you can help you ensure that you are properly prepared.
Contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer regarding a change of child custody. I have extensive experience in such matters and I am ready to assist you. My office also services clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.