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Scope of Discovery Rights in Family Law Paternity Cases?

Irvine, CA |

I'm Petitioner in a Paternity case. Opposing party is doing everything to prevent proper discovery of financials. Opp counsel has represented to me (orally) that, 1) that since we never married the Fam Code disso statues to not apply in my case, and 2) that since we have no scheduled OSC for child support, child support is "not at issue" and hence, neither is any financial discovery. As to #2, what makes c-support "at issue"? My understanding is that its technically at issue from the moment the parentage petition is filed (I checked child-support box), as the language right at the bottom of form warns: "The court may make orders for support of children... without further notice to either party." Can someone explain what does/does not make something "at issue", in general?

It would seem absurd that an OSC for support must be brought FIRST, as the calendaring of a typical hearing (4-6 wks) would typically barely allow enough time for proper discovery. As to #1, I understand that Civil Code Procedures govern discovery here, but I also would like to rely on some of the more pointed and mandated disclosures contained in the Family Code. In a Paternity case, which, if any, are available to me? Thanks!

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Attorney answers 3


You need to speak to an EXPERIENCED family law attorney, who will set the opposing counsel right, and get discovery ORDERED. This does not sound like it's going to be a "do it yourself" job, and getting the right attorney now may mean thousands of dollars in difference in support later.



Richard, respectfully, this is not an answer to my question(s). I know how to get it ordered, and have been sitting on motions to compel. As I am in no rush, I am more interested in seeing to what egregious lengths opposing party will go to in order to hide, before brining a 271 motion. Additionally, I believe their lack of candor, misrepresentation of law, and eventual disclosure of fraudulent activity could have bearing on a custody determination once all is revealed before the judge. I'm interested in response to the specifics asked above. Thanks.

Richard Forrest Gould-Saltman

Richard Forrest Gould-Saltman


If it's a parentage case, support's an issue. Whether or not FC 271 applies to non-marriage cases is an open question; the extent of the "disclosure obligations" in a non-marriage case is an open question. Do NOT expect that if you "sit on" motions to compel, the court will treat a lack of cooperation in regard to financial issues as having ANY bearing on custody issues.


You are in a disadvantage not having a lawyer. Paternity not simple. And you are in Orange County. So hire a family law attorney.

An item or request or right is "at issue" when relief in one way or another is sought based on that. So if support is not sought then it is not an issue. However discovery is extremely complicated and just because something is not "at issue" does not make it an absolute rule.

Can not possibly explain all the intertwined rules of discovery in any short answer and you are sailing in unchartered territories in discovery and paternity in Orange County. . Good luck.

In addition to AVVO's disclaimer, please note that by this answer no attorney client relationship is intended mor entered into and unless there is a signed retainer agreement in place, neither me nor anyone in our office has intended to solicit clients nor reprints them. The answers are general in nature and without weighing specifics of particular query. No answer should be relied on in whole or in part, directly or otherwise to act or not to act in pursue of any of your potential claims in law or equity. You should consult with and obtain advise or representation of an attorney to protect your rights regarding your case or matter.


You can go to your local Dept, of Child Support Services to get parentage and support established. That office does not represent you, but their job is to get the right amount of support. Further, the original support order can be made retroactive to the date of filing the petition,.

Good luck

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