In addition to filing standard discovery requests in a Sacramento family law case, I usually send requests for admissions (“RFA”) to a responding party. These requests can be issued as a matter of right without obtaining a court order. Any matter admitted in response to a RFA is conclusively established for the pending action against the party making the admission, with some limited exceptions. CCP §2033.410(a).
In general, RFAs are not used to discover facts, but to establish the existence or nonexistence of facts. They may also be used to authenticate documents. Use caution when drafting a RFA to make sure it is worded effectively without leaving the responding party with any wiggle room to admit or deny the admission.
If you want to establish that the other spouse has improperly used marital money to buy gifts for a lover, you might use a series of statements like these:
1. You have used Visa 12345 during personal travel with M. Lover at least once in the last 12 months.
2. You have used Visa 12345 to pay for a hotel room during personal travel with M. Lover at least once in the last 12 months.
However, you would not want to ask the other the following:
1. You have purchased personal meals or hotel rooms during personal travel at least once in the last 12 months.
If the other spouse answers “Yes” to this question, then that is an ambiguous response which is not worth the paper it is written on because it will not be clear whether the admission refers to purchasing meals or hotel rooms with M. Lover or without.
RFA can be a great tool to use in a family law case to narrow the contested issues to resolve the case at mediation or trial. Best of all, RFAs are much cheaper than deposing the other party. I hope this gives you a better idea regarding how attorneys use RFAs in family law cases. Next time, I will explain what to do if the other spouses sends you RFAs. As your Sacramento family law attorney, I will explain how to do so. In the meantime, here is my contact information.