How To Respond To A Marital or Parentage Request to Produce Documents
During the discovery phase of a divorce or parentage matter, you will receive written requests for information and written demands for the production of documents. A Marital or Parentage Request to Produce Documents is a written demand from the other spouse or parent for you to produce copies of documents in your possession or that you can easily obtain (such as printing your bank or credit card statements from the website or ordering the older statements from the bank). Typically, you will be required to produce tax returns, paystubs, bank account statements, credit card statements, property documents, etc.
When to Respond to a Marital or Parentage Request to Produce Documents
Once you receive a Request to Produce, you will have 28 days to produce your documents and respond in writing to the request. The production of documents will not be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, rather, a Certificate of Service will be prepared and filed with the Clerk to prove the deadline was met. The actual documents will be delivered to the requesting party. If there are any objections the production of documents, or if there is a divorce trial or child support hearing, the court will review the documents at that time. If you do not produce your written response and the documents within the deadline, you could be sanctioned by the court. It is best to calendar the 28-day deadline as soon as you receive any discovery request so that you do not run afoul of the laws in your state and county.
When a Request to Produce is served upon our clients, we will share a folder via our secure client portal so you can upload your written response and documents for the firm's review. This will also greatly assist in the delivery of the documents to the opposing attorney or self-represented spouse or parent. Please provide the firm with your response and responsive documents 2 weeks before the deadline so that we can have sufficient time to review and prepare same to be tendered to the other side.
Protect Private Information When Responding to Marital or Parentage Request to Produce Documents
You should redact all but the last four digits of any account number. You may have to disclose the entire account number at a later date, however, for security reasons, please redact any sensitive account number information prior to uploading your documents. You might also want to redact your social security number as well for security reasons. If you have any questions about other sensitive information, please contact our divorce attorney, Erin Birt, to discuss how best to proceed with the disclosure of the information or document. Any objections to a request to produce must be made within a reasonable time after receiving the request, so please contact the firm at your earliest convenience and within 7 days after receiving the Request to Produce to discuss any needed objections and how best to proceed in order to comply with the deadline.
As always, please keep a copy for your records of anything that you provide the firm to review and/or tender to the opposing attorney or self-represented spouse or parent.
Steps for How to Respond to the Marital or Parentage Request to Produce Documents
When preparing your written response, please do the following:
- Please retype each request in the same order at listed in the Request to Produce.
- Make a copy or scan of the requested document
- Describe the document in your response (such as US Bank Statement closing date 1/31/2020) and indicate that the copy of the document is attached hereto under tab “(number corresponding to the number of the request)”.
- Organize your copies or scans of documents into folders that correspond with the paragraph number in the Request to Produce.
- If you do not have the document, please indicate the date you ordered the document from the particular institution and the approximate date you expect to receive the documents.
- If the document is not in your possession or control, please state so and the reason why it is not in your possession or control.
- Upload your written response and documents to the secure client portal folder.
An example of a Response to a Request to Produce:
- SALARY OR REGULAR MONTHLY COMPENSATION: Please provide copies of your monthly paycheck and/or stubs, or monthly disability benefits, indicating gross monthly pay, deductions, and net pay, paid to you within the last three (3) years to date.
1. ANSWER: Please find attached paychecks dated 1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019, 2019 W-2, and my completed financial statement dated 1/1/2019.
Tips for Responding Marital or Parentage Request to Produce Documents
- Be truthful in your response and include complete copies of the documents requested such as all pages for a statement, all schedules for tax returns, proof of corresponding cancelled checks or deposits for statements.
- Do not hide or fail to produce documents. You can be sanctioned by the court for your failure to tell the truth and produce accurate records such as being barred from testifying on your own behalf, barred from producing evidence on your behalf at a later date, or ordered to pay attorneys fees for the unnecessary games you played.
- Sign the response to the Request to Produce and verify that the production is truthful and accurate.
- Keep collecting statements and other documents as you receive them, you are under an obligation to “seasonably update” your response to any discovery requests and we try to provide updates every 90 days if not earlier.