If your divorce will be taking place in Fulton County Georgia, you will be required to complete mandatory discovery early on in your case. In a divorce, discovery is the process by which parties gather important information and evidence from the opposing party. In Fulton County it is mandatory that you complete a special initial set of discovery at the beginning of your case. This mandatory discovery includes a set of interrogatories (written questions) that you must answer and set of documents that you must produce to the other party. Mandatory discovery does not preclude you or your lawyer from doing formal discovery later in the case, it is only a set of initial discovery to get the case started.
When Do I Need to Complete Mandatory Discovery?
The Fulton County Family Division Revised Rules, Rule 4000-6.3.2, requires that mandatory discovery shall be served on the opposing party or counsel within thirty (30) days from the filing date of the Complaint (the document that initiates a divorce) or no later than 48 hours before the 30-Day Status Conference (a conference in Fulton County where conference officers speak with both parties and let them know what will happen next), whichever date is later. You must bring your mandatory discovery answers and documents required to be produced to the 30-Day Status Conference.
The mandatory discovery rule applies to most family law cases in Fulton County except proceedings involving adoption, enforcement, contempt, declaratory actions and injunctions for domestic or repeat violence. This rule also does not apply in the event the parties enter into an Uncontested Divorce by thirty (30) days after the date of the filing of the Complaint.
Mandatory Discovery: Answers to Interrogatories
One of the mandatory discovery documents you will need to complete is the Answers to Interrogatories. This is a series of questions you must answer and serve unto the other opposing party within the required time limit. It typically asks about:
- Your name
- Legal residence
- Your Education
Employment & Income
- 3 years employment history
- List all sources of income
- Expenses for the children
- Do the children have special needs?
- Is there a child care plan?
- Do you claim anything is separate non-marital property?
- List of insurance policies
- List of gifts
- Other legal actions you are involved in
Mandatory Discovery: Required Documents to be Produced
The other mandatory discovery document you will need to complete is the Required Documents to be Produced. This document will ask you to produce several important documents. It typically asks you to produce things like:
- Your Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
- 3 years of tax returns and the most recent W-2
- 12 months of pay stubs
- Evidence of income from all sources
- Most recent statements for liquid fund assets (401k, money market, stocks, retirement, pensions)
- Documents related to child care, schooling, extra curriculars etc.
- Documents relating to any business you have an interest in