If you don't get a response to your discovery request | California Courts (2024)

Before you start

Try to work things out informally with the other person

If you sent a request for information using the discovery process and the other person:

  • Skipped some questions that you checked
  • Did notanswer the whole question
  • Refused to answer without a good reason
  • Did not respond at all to your discovery request

you have options for what to do next to get the information you need.

Start by trying to work things out informally, keeping records of all of your communications. If you can't get the information you need that way, you can request a court order.

Write to them(or their lawyer, if they have one). Explain what was missing, if that's the case, or why their refusal to answer a question is not correct. Ask when you can get a complete response.

If they sendupdated responses, review them again. If still not complete, you can write againasking for a complete response.

Keep records of your communications

In order to ask ajudge to require the other personto respond, you must show the judge that you tried to work things out first. The legal term for this isMeet and Confer. Itmeans that you tried to work things out, but still did not get complete answers.

To show the judge you met this requirement, you'll need documentation. This includes:

  1. A copy of written communication to the other person asking them to respond
    • This letter or email should include the information that because they missed the deadline to respond, the law says they can no longer refuse or “object” to answering the questions
    • This letter or email should also give them another deadline to get you the answers
  2. Proof that they received your communication
    • If you sent it by email and they responded to the email in any way, this typically will be acceptable in family court
    • If they are not responding to you at all, then you can serve the communication by mail (the same way you served the Form Interrogatories)
    • Sending a letter with proof of delivery may also be acceptable

Keep a copy of the Proof of Service form or the receipt from proof of delivery via mail. You'll need these when you ask the court for an order.

Ask for a court order

If the other person does not respond, or their response is still incomplete, you can ask the court to order them to respond.

You have 45 days from the service of the most recent responses to ask the court to make an order requiring an answer. If the response was served by mail, 5 extra days are added. If the last day falls on a weekend or court holiday, the last day to file rolls to the next court date. If you miss this deadline, you accept the responses as given.

​​​​​​The other person may face consequences for missing a deadline

For example, they might give up a right to object to a question in an interrogatory. You can also ask the court for fees if you spent money filing the order.

If you don't get a response to your discovery request | California Courts (2024)


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