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Monday, April 27, 2009

Mandatory Discovery Expanded to Include Separate Support and Paternity Actions

Effective May 1, 2009, Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 410 will now require mandatory self-disclosure in Paternity and Separate Support cases similar to that already required in Divorce cases.

Under the old Rule 410, parties in divorce cases are required to, within 45 days after the date of service of the Summons, serve on the other party specific documents designed to disclose the basic financial information necessary to settle the case. This includes tax returns for the past three years, last four (4) paycheck stubs, bank account statements, health insurance documentation, retirement account statements and more.

Under the new Rule 410 effective May 1, 2009, parties in Divorce and Separate Support cases are required to, within 45 days after the date of service of the Summons, serve said documents (tax returns for the past three years, last four (4) paycheck stubs, bank account statements, health insurance documentation, retirement account statements, etc.). In addition, new Rule 410 requires parties in Paternity cases to produce tax returns for the past three years, last four (4) paycheck stubs, and health insurance documentation, within 45 days of service.

The old rule was enacted to save parties valuable time and energy filing discovery requests for documents that are likely necessary in every divorce case. Unfortunately, the failure of the old rule to include paternity and separate support cases meant that we still had to file the requests in those cases (sometimes just requesting all documents required under Rule 410).

The new rule expands this convenience and is a welcome change, which will hopefully save lawyer's time and client's money.

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