Sample Discovery Request

May 5, 2008

Several readers seem to be searching for examples of discovery document requests that you can use when you are representing yourself (i.e. you are a pro se litigant).  

As an illustration for those seeking to prepare their own discovery requests, I thought I would like to post an example that I used in my own case. The file link below will connect to a PDF document that contains some pretty standard requests for documents. This is officially known as a Request for Production (or RFP).


When you examine the list of items requested you can see that document production can eat up a lot of time. This is also why it is important to keep detailed records during your divorce and why you should try to settle your case before it reaches the discovery stage.

In addition to production of documents, discovery includes interrogatories (a set of twenty questions) and depositions (sworn testimony from witnesses and both parties that can be introduced in court). Depositions are a great way for attorneys to produce billable hours.

Usually, the court will indicate when any discovery must be completed. In my case, the opposing attorney just ignored my requests for documents. The discovery commissioner who is meant to handle discovery disputes never returned my calls and the office seemed mostly empty.

A motion was then generated requesting the court to order the production of the requested documents.  The opposing attorney claimed I had not produced all of my documents and he had not realized that I was representing myself- the court, in all its wisdom, then postponed the trial another six months.  

In hindsight, I’m not sure how much hope you can pin on the discovery process. It is costly and time-consuming to enforce compliance even for information that you know exists. If the other party decides to lie about the existence of documents then it is unlikely you will ever obtain them. The penalties for non-compliance seem almost farcical.