Discovery is the process of obtaining information from the opposing party in the course of a lawsuit. Discovery is governed by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Pa. R.C.P.). Rule 1930.5 states that there shall be no discovery in a simple support, custody or Protection from Abuse proceeding unless authorized by court. In order for you to be allowed to send discovery in a custody matter, you must get permission from the court. If a request for discovery is granted, discovery would then proceed as in any other matter.
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Formal discovery methods include interrogatories, depositions, production requests, subpoenas to produce things and/or documents, and/or requests for admission. Interrogatories and production request are the most frequent methods of discovery in family law cases. Interrogatories are a written set of questions for the other party to answer. A production request lists all the documents a party is seeking. Subpoenas are a good tool when it is necessary to get information directly from the source in the instance a party does not have it, will not cooperate in turning it over, or you suspect they may tamper with the documentation. Examples of relevant documentation to seek in a custody matter may include health care records for the children and/or the other parent, academic records, any prior evaluations completed, expert reports, criminal records of the other parent, and information on potential witnesses.