What Documents Do I Have to Give to the Other Side in a Family Law Case?
Starting January 1, 2021, the Texas legislature amended the Texas Family Code to require parties to provide and disclose certain documents and information to the other party in a family law suit within 30 days of the filing of an answer, waiver of service, or a Counterpetition.
This is a huge change in the old law - your attorney had to request these items or they wouldn’t be provided. Now, parties are limited to 30 days to gather up the below documents and as you’ll see - it’s not just one or two items. It’s a LOT of things that can take a while to dig up.
Your first priority should be getting these documents and this information to your attorney asap, but no later than 30 days. This is imperative for your future success in the case.
The new rules say that in ANY family law case (with a few exceptions), a party must provide to the other parties the following information and documents:
(1) the correct names of the parties to the lawsuit;
(2) the name, address, and telephone number of any potential parties;
(3) the legal theories and, in general, the factual bases of the responding party's claims or defenses (typically your attorney will be the one drafting this as they are the one knowledgable about the law, but be honest with your attorney about all facts so they can get your essential arguments correct);
(4) the amount and any method of calculating economic damages;
(5) the name, address, and telephone number of persons having knowledge of relevant facts, and a brief statement of each identified person's connection with the case;
(6) a copy - or a description by category and location - of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the responding party has in its possession, custody, or control, and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;
(7) any indemnity and insuring agreements;
(8) any settlement agreements;
(9) any witness statements;
(10) in a suit alleging physical or mental injury and damages from the occurrence that is the subject of the case, all medical records and bills that are reasonably related to the injuries or damages asserted or, in lieu thereof, an authorization permitting the disclosure of such medical records and bills;
(11) in a suit alleging physical or mental injury and damages from the occurrence that is the subject of the case, all medical records and bills obtained by the responding party by virtue of an authorization furnished by the requesting party; and
(12) the name, address, and telephone number of any person who may be designated as a responsible third party.
If you’re getting a DIVORCE, a party must provide to the other party the following, for the past two years or since the date of marriage, whichever is less:
(A) all deed and lien information on any real property owned and all lease information on any real property leased;
(B) all statements for any pension plan, retirement plan, profit-sharing plan, employee benefit plan, and individual retirement plan;
(C) all statements or policies for each current life, casualty, liability, and health insurance policy; and
(D) all statements pertaining to any account at a financial institution, including banks, savings and loans institutions, credit unions, and brokerage firms.
If you’re in a CHILD SUPPORT OR SPOUSAL SUPPORT suit, a party must provide to the other party:
(A) information regarding all policies, statements, and the summary description of benefits for any medical and health insurance coverage that is or would be available for the child or the spouse;
(B) the party's income tax returns for the previous two years or, if no return has been filed, the party's Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 for such years; and
(C) the party's two most recent payroll check stubs.
Exchanging Disclosures is the first step in conducting discovery. “Discovery” is essentially the process of obtaining and disclosing evidence to and from the other party during the pendency of a case. Depending on the facts of your case and your budget, your attorney will determine what types of discovery you conduct.
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