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One of the most critical factors to resolving family law matters is an accurate knowledge of the parties’ respective circumstances. Depending on the issue, those circumstances might be financial, behavioral, health-related, or otherwise. Formal discovery in family law matters is often confusing for both practitioners and the court because discovery is not permitted in certain actions, such as support and custody, without court order. This problem is further compounded by the opposition’s frequent resistance to respond, either in full or at all, and the expense of conducting and enforcing formal discovery. What’s the family law practitioner to do?
This presentation discusses both formal and informal discovery tools and how to most effectively use them in family law matters. The panel presents an overview of formal discovery means under the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure, including forms, as well as what to do and what the courts do when those requests are ignored. Supporting case law will be provided. The pros, cons, and optimal uses for certain discovery methods, strategic discovery, and how to get what one really wants with informal discovery tools also are discussed. Finally, electronic discovery issues, subpoena procedures for Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, as well as various ethical issues are interwoven throughout the presentation.
Recorded during a live webcast in October 2011.
Ann M. Funge, Esq., Funge Family Law, LLC, Philadelphia