# Tips to Getting the Information You need for Your Washington State Family Law Matter
This guide is designed to help people use the discovery rules to get the information they need to resolve their divorce or other family law matter as quickly as possible. You need to have as much information as possible to be able to choose a position and reach a fair outcome.
1. Use local court rules to get informationThe first and most effective way to get information that you need is through local court rules. Many counties have their own set of rules and deadlines for the disclosure of information. These local court rules were created by the judges of the county to help facilitate family law matters. For example, many counties require the parties to file with the court and deliver to the other party two years of tax returns and 6 months of paystubs. This information is the minimal information needed to establish support obligations.
The local rules can be enforced during a status hearing or by motion before the court to enforce the local court rule. The Courts love to enforce their own rules (that's why they're there) and want all parties to obey the rules they've created.
Be warned, that it will be hard for you to enforce a rule if you are not following it yourself! So make sure that you have filed your mandatory initial disclosures according to local court rules before you try to enforce the rule.
2. Documents you already have access toAs a parent, you have access to documents that relate to your child already barring a court order. So you can get medical records (for kids under 13), for example. You can also get a copy of credit card statements, tax returns, bills, bank statements where you are a joint owner of an account or you have some other ownership interest. There are other public records that are available online. Fore example, deed and tax assessments for real estate are available online in many counties. Many people overlook these documents, but they can give you important information
3. InterrogatoriesThe most common way to get information beyond the mandatory disclosures is call interrogatories. Interrogatories are a set of questions that the other party must answer under oath. These questions can be anything relevant to the matter. For example, you can ask the other side to provide a list of property over $500 and state whether they believe it is community (and subject to division) or separate (and they should keep it).
The rule is CR 26 and CR 33. Read these rules to get the details right before you send them. Following these rules will allow you to later force the other party to respond.
4. Requests for ProductionGetting documents is one of the most important things you can do. You can demand that the other party provide you with a document that you can copy or a copy of that document under CR 34.
Documents that you can request include any document that is relevant to your case. This could include copies of benefits programs, estate planning documents, bank accounts, credit card statements, credit reports, etc.
5. Request for AdmissionsA little used tool, you can ask an opposing party to admit the authenticity of documents, take a position about the application of law, or otherwise admit or deny statements you make. This is a quick way to narrow issues surrounding property. These are governed under rule CR 36.
6. DepositionsDepositions are formal witness testimonies. They are used in cases where the stakes are high because of the cost and difficulty involved. At a deposition, you must have a court certified reporter to record everything that is said. You get to directly examine a witness regarding testimony they may give at trial. That means you have to be very prepared in order to make sure you get know what information you will need.
The deposition testimony can be used later to ensure that a witness does not try to say something else at a trial.
It is governed by rule CR 30 and 31.
7. SubpoenasSometimes information and documents are in the possession of third parties. Since these people are not parties to your family law matter, you have to take extra steps to obtain information from them. For example, if you soon to be ex won't give up their bank statements, or you think they may have an account at a bank that they did not disclosure using other direct forms of discovery, you could use a subpoena to ask the bank to give you the information and bypass your soon to be ex.
An attorney can write a subpoena directly. If you do not have an attorney, you have to go to a court and ask for the judge to order the clerk to issue a subpoena. You should treat this like a normal motion hearing and give notice to your soon to be ex.