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Ex’s new lawyer starts from scratch

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Q. My husband has been representing himself in our divorce for several months.  He had a lawyer in the beginning but fired him when he lost custody during our first motion hearing.  My husband has a bad temper and he treated his lawyer the same way he treats me.

He just hired a new lawyer who sent out a bunch of new discovery requests just days before the deadline.  Most of the things he is asking for were already produced to the first lawyer when I had to do my self-disclosure and answer interrogatories.  I don’t understand why they get to do this again making me spend more on legal fees.  Do I have to answer the same things again?

A. No, you don’t have to re-produce things you already sent to your husband’s first lawyer.  By definition those items are now in your husband’s custody and you don’t have to duplicate efforts or incur a second round of legal fees to do so.  The problem is, it sounds like some of the requests are new and as to those, you will need to provide the requested information if it exists.  Also, if your discovery was produced months ago, he is entitled to supplementation meaning you will need to produce records that you received over the last few months from your financial institutions which did not exist at the time you last produced records.  Likewise, you are entitled to ask for supplementation either now or closer to a trial date and he will have to provided updated information.

For now, I suggest you object to re-producing what was already produced rather than filing a motion to protect you from having to answer again.  It will end up being the cheaper option for you in the long run.  Produce updated records not already produced and answer any new requests.  Then ask your lawyer about the strategy of when you want your husband to supplement his discovery.

The interrogatories are a different matter.  He is only allowed to ask 30 questions.  Your question implies you have already answered interrogatories.  You don’t have to answer more than 30 so count them up.. If he wants more answers he will have to ask the court to allow him to ask more questions.

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