Conducting Discovery In Orange County Child Custody Cases Involving Drug Abuse
This is the third post in our series on how Orange County child custody cases are impacted by a parent’s drug abuse. Our last post discussed the process of requesting a change in custody. It is important to understand that you must demonstrate specific facts in order for a Court to entertain the request. In this article we will discuss another important topic – conducting discovery after the Court has heard the initial Motion and has set a trial date. Discovery is a crucial tool for gathering evidence and building a case. It is also a complicated process and we suggest you contact an attorney for assistance.
Orange County parents can use the discovery process to gather evidence of substance abuse in change of custody cases
Discovery is the process by which information is gained from the other side in a legal case. There are multiple tools available for gaining such information. Interrogatories are written questions to which the responding parent must provide written and detailed answers. Requests for Production can be used to make the other side provide written documents such as records, files, and other tangible items. A third tool, known as a deposition, allows your attorney to question a party or witness in the presence of a Court Reporter while the witness is under oath. A party can also be required to sign record releases so that documentation, such as medical records, can be requested.
Discovery can serve several important roles in a case involving substance abuse. If, for example, it is alleged that the other parent is using prescription drugs then it is possible to obtain records from their treating physician. These records can show whether the parent has a valid prescription, the dosage they are to be taking, and their refill schedule. It is not uncommon to find, through discovery, that such a parent is “prescription shopping” and has been attempting to gain pills from as many doctors as possible. Discovery can also be used to obtain employment records which can demonstrate failed drug tests and whether a parent has been terminated for being high on drugs while at work. For obvious reasons, such evidence can be crucial to Orange County parents who are attempting to change child custody.
An Orange County child custody attorney can compel answers from a parent who does not wish to answer discovery requests
Answering discovery requests are not optional. In spite of their mandatory nature, many parents attempt to either not answer the requests or to simply provide partial information. An Orange County child custody attorney can gain a Court Order which mandates a complete response. Should a parent not provide satisfactory responses then your lawyer can file a Motion to Compel. The Court will hold a hearing at which the Judge will hear argument, from the non-responding parent, as to why they should not have to comply with the requests. Unless a satisfactory response is given the Court will often mandate that responses be given within a certain period of time and will require the non-responding party to pay legal fees associated with having to the file the Motion.
Contact our lawyers today if you believe your child’s other parent to be abusing drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, or heroin, as well as any other narcotic. We are experienced in conducting discovery in such cases and are able to guide you through the process. We service Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Lake Forest, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.