Most Common Discovery Tools in South Carolina Family Court
Written by: Megan Dell
One of the most tedious parts of a case in South Carolina Family Court is conducting discovery.
What is “discovery”? It’s the process through which each side exchanges information about their case. When each side knows what evidence the other has, they are each better able to evaluate their case and may be able to reach a settlement.
Discovery can be time-consuming and expensive, but it also provides an invaluable opportunity to identify the other party’s trial strategy and position in the case. Here’s some information about the most common discovery tools.
The four most common discovery tools in South Carolina Family Court are described below.
1. Interrogatories (allowed by Rule 33, SCRCP)
Interrogatories are written questions sent to the other party, and the other party must provide full answers to them under oath. These interrogatories can cover any subject that is relevant to the issues pending before the Court, and the party answering them can only object to them for a few specific reasons. These are probably the most common discovery tool.
2. Requests for Production (allowed by Rule 34, SCRCP)
Requests for Production are written requests sent to the other party asking for any pieces of evidence that are relevant to the issues pending before the Court. These are also a very common discovery tool.
3. Requests for Admission (allowed by Rule 36, SCRCP)
Requests for Admissions are written statements sent to the other party, and the other party must admit or deny each statement. If the party answering these does not answer timely, then the statements may be deemed admitted at trial.
Depositions provide an opportunity to question the other party or a witness under oath prior to trial. They are usually conducted in an attorney’s office and the questions and answers are recorded in writing by a court reporter. In some circumstances, such as when a witness lives outside of South Carolina, depositions may be used in place of trial testimony or may be conducted by video or telephone. Depositions provide an opportunity to learn what the party or witness knows about a situation. Additionally, if a witness testifies differently at trial, then the deposition testimony may be used to challenge the witness’s credibility.
Discovery can be complex and time-consuming, and it is important that you understand the value it can bring to your South Carolina Family Court case. Knowing how to use the most common discovery tools is important. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Family Court lawyer to get help.