A Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) is a legal proceeding and it is governed primarily by Minnesota Statutes (in general Minnesota Statute Section 518 and 518A), the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Rules of Family Court Procedure. The Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery govern the exchange of information between the parties to dissolution and obtaining information from third parties. These rules are premised on the view that parties to a lawsuit should cooperate and disclose information that is relevant to the case.
In a dissolution case, the discovery tools commonly used are Interrogatories, Requests for Production, and Depositions. Interrogatories are written questions that one party sends to another party seeking information related to the case. Requests for Production are written requests for the production of documents and other tangible materials. Depositions are where a party or witness is asked questions by the opposing attorney under oath in a proceeding that is transcribed by a court reporter.
Another tool that may be used to obtain information is a subpoena, where the court process is used to obtain information from third-parties. A subpoena is typically used to obtain documents from third parties, such as banks or financial institutions, which will be relevant to the questions at issue in a case. Subpoenas may also be used to take depositions of third parties such as custodian of records, witnesses, etc. The court rules must be adhered to in using a subpoena during the discovery process.
With all of these requests, it is essential that the party responding to the interrogatories or being deposed is truthful in their response. If evidence emerges that indicates you have been less than truthful or lied under oath, the consequence can be harsh and will affect your overall credibility before the court.
In divorce and family law cases, some issues can devolve down to “he said, she said,” which makes it difficult to determine the truth of the matter. Lying under oath in deposition or on interrogatories can cripple your credibility and may result in the court distrusting all of your representations. Ultimately, the court typically has wide discretion to decide the issues in your case and you do not want the lack of credibility to have a negative impact on the outcome. On all matters, it is very important that you maintain your credibility before the court by being truthful in discovery and your representations to the other side and the court.