Stipulating to family court discovery

Unlike circuit court, there in no automatic discovery in South Carolina’s family court.  See Rule 25, SCRFC.  Most of the time, discovery is ordered at the first temporary hearing.  Often parties (well, the parties’ attorneys) wish to engage in discovery without having a temporary hearing or prior to a temporary hearing.  Other times, the temporary order will not include an order of discovery and the parties (well, again, the parties’ attorneys) later decide they would like discovery.

In these situations, one could file a consent order authorizing discovery but an order isn’t required.  Instead, Rule 25, SCRFC also authorizes discovery “by stipulation of the parties.”  That’s how I typically authorize discovery.

An opposing attorney asked me recently why do discovery by stipulation rather than court order?  Two reasons.   First, one saves the $25.00 motion fee that’s required for any consent order.  Second, it’s quicker.  One doesn’t need to send the order to the court for consideration and execution by a judge and subsequent filing by the clerk; one simply files the stipulation with the clerk.  That saves at least a day and sometimes a week or more.

When agreeing to discovery in family court, there’s no reason to go to the trouble of a consent order when a stipulation will suffice.

Put Mr. Forman’s experience, knowledge, and dedication to your service for any of your South Carolina family law needs.

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