Q: My divorce case is pending, and I
would like to obtain information from my spouse in preparation for my
case. How do I do that?
A: “Discovery” is the process you
may use to obtain information in preparation for your pending divorce
case. The Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure provide for a variety of methods
of discovery. In addition, you and your spouse may be required to
complete standard affidavits providing certain information relative to
your income, assets and liabilities, issues related to your children, if
any, and health insurance. These standard affidavits can be obtained at
Q: What are the main ways to obtain information from my spouse during the discovery process?
The main ways to obtain information are: (1) oral depositions; (2)
interrogatories; (3) requests for production of documents; (4) requests
for admissions; and (5) subpoenas.
Q: What kinds of information may I obtain during the discovery process?
you may obtain information about all matters that are not considered
privileged, and that relate to your case. Matters may be considered
privileged for a variety of reasons. For example, matters your spouse
and your spouse’s attorney discuss to prepare for your spouse’s case may
be privileged. Just because the court may not admit certain evidence at
trial does not automatically mean
that you cannot obtain it through the discovery process.
information includes all information that might reasonably lead to
evidence that supports your case. Generally, information and documents
relative to your spouse's income, assets, debts and health insurance are
Q: What is an oral deposition?
A: An oral
deposition is essentially a question and answer session. The opposing
party or that party’s attorney asks a person to answer, under oath,
questions about the case. The questions and answers are typically
recorded by stenograph and sometimes by video. Generally, any person may
be asked to submit to an oral deposition.
Q: My spouse’s attorney would like to take my deposition. Who will be there?
following people may be present at your deposition: (1) you (the
“deponent”), as the party answering the questions; (2) your attorney, if
you have one, who may protect you by objecting to certain questions;
(3) your spouse or your spouse’s attorney, who will be asking the
questions; (4) any other party and that party’s attorney; and (5) the
court reporter, who will be recording every word spoken during the
Q: What should I know before going to a deposition?
Always be truthful; (2) before answering, be sure you understand each
question, or ask for clarification if you do not; and (3) you do not
need to volunteer information, you only need to answer the question
Q: What are interrogatories?
are written questions that you must answer in writing and under
oath. You may be allowed to object to any question asked of you, and you
may state your objections in writing before, or instead of, responding.
Q: What are requests for production of documents?
for production of documents are requests to see documents, including
electronically stored information. Such requests typically include
requests to see documents relating to your income, assets, debts and
personal background, including information relating to your finances,
employment, personal property and real estate. The attorney can only
request those documents that are in your possession, custody, or
control. You may be able to object to these requests, and you are
permitted to note your objections to each in writing before, or instead
Q: What are requests for admissions?
for admissions ask you to admit or deny the truth of the matter that is
written in the request. You must reply, in writing, to the requests for
admissions within whatever time period the request specifies, which
cannot be less than 28 days from the date the requests were sent to you,
unless the court allows for a shorter response time. If you do not
respond during that time period, the court will treat every request as
having been admitted. You may be allowed to object to requests for
admissions, and you may note your objections to each in writing before,
or instead of, responding.
Q: My attorney and my spouse’s attorney have issued subpoenas. What are subpoenas?
A: Subpoenas are demands for people other than you and your spouse to do the following in connection with your case:
- attend and testify at a trial, hearing, or deposition;
- produce documents, electronically stored information, or tangible things at a trial, hearing, or deposition;
and permit inspection and copying of any designated documents or
electronically stored information they possess, or have in their custody
and permit inspection and copying, testing, or sampling of any tangible
things they possess or have in their custody or control; or
certain people to enter land or other property that is in the
possession or control of the person to whom the subpoena is sent.
This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by
the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Allison K.
Tracey, an attorney with the Columbus law firm of Collins & Slagle