Family Code 218 is intended to overrule a decision related to In re Marriageof Boblitt, which was decided in February of 2014 by the California Appeals Court. Essentially, the Boblitt Court made post-judgment discovery more cumbersome.
For instance, if a moving party in a child support or spousal support modification request sought discovery related to the opposing party's income and assets, the requesting party was at the mercy of opposing counsel or the courts to obtain the relevant financial information to support the requested relief. Not surprisingly, the opposing party would resist and obstruct the process, withholding information short of a motion to compel production of the financial documents. However, California Family Code Section 218, which will be effective January 1, 2015, changed all the landscape. Specifically, Family Code section 218 provides:
"With respect to the ability to conduct formal discovery in family law proceedings, when a request for order or other motion is filed and served after entry of judgment, discovery shall automatically reopen as to the issues raised in the post-judgment pleadings currently before the court. The date initially set for trial of the action specified in subdivision (a) of Section 2024.020 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall mean the date the post-judgment proceeding is set for hearing on the motion or any continuance thereof, or evidentiary trial, whichever is later."
To be clear, FC section 218 does not apply until January 1, 2015; thus, if you are seeking to modify child support, or modify spousal support, prudence would dictate that you wait until January 1, 2015 if you plan on conducting discovery to seek documents/information related to the opposing party's income and assets.
If you have any questions regarding divorce, child custody, child support, or questions regarding conducting discovery in the face of child support or spousal support modification, please call Eric Martinelli with the Martinelli Law Group for a free consultation.