Discourse on Discovery: Drafting a Request for Admissions

Requests for admission

As with any area of law, especially when it comes to drafting legal documents, it is highly recommended that you seek the direction and assistance of an experienced family attorney. If you are representing yourself, it is critical that you review your local and state laws and procedures related to drafting documents.

Drafting your own request for admissions

If you decide to draft your own request for admissions (requests not involving the authentication of documents), there should be two primary trains of thought

1. To obtain a useful admission from the other party

2. To obtain a denial from the other party that can challenge their credibility

Thus, when drafting the request, avoid questions that are trivial or that have already been acknowledged by the other party. Also, it is important to avoid broad or vague questions as they can often lead to challenging the credibility of the other party. For instance, if a questions asked to “admit or deny that the other party is an unfit parent”, whether or not it may be true, just about anyone can provide a reasonable explanation why they aren’t an unfit parent. Thus, since overly broad, vague and a matter of opinion…how can one provide that they have lied? In this situation, a better crafted question to challenge whether they are an unfit parent or not could be “admit or deny that you were too intoxicated on July 4, 2015 to safely care for their minor child.”

There are also some general rules that apply to drafting requests for admissions, including:

  1. Each request being numbered consecutively.
  2. The first paragraph immediately stating the identity of the party requesting the admissions, the set number, and the identity of the responding party.  
  3. No subparts or “compound, conjunctive or disjunctive” requests.  
  4. Attaching documents when requesting an admission of the genuineness of the documents.

Samples of possible Requests for Admission

The following are samples of possible Requests for Admission (seeking information about income for support purposes) that may be seen in a divorce:

  • Admit that you had a personal safe deposit box in the Washington Mutual Bank at 12334 Main St., Anywhere, GA 52587 between July 12, 2010 and December 31, 2010.
  • Admit that you received an annual bonus of $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) from your employer, XYZ Corporation, in December 2014.
  • Admit that you traveled to Bora Bora between August 1, 2015 and August 10, 2015.
  • Admit that you are the owner of the 2012 Lotus Exige automobile license 6HYR258.
  • Admit that you purchased the residence at 25258 Running Springs Place, Anywhere, NY on February 14, 2011 for $900,000 (nine hundred thousand dollars).

Response to request for admissions

Preparing responses to a Requests for Admission is as important as preparing questions. Ultimately, though, individuals have an obligation to respond in good faith. The following are some common rules related to responding to the requests:

1. The answers must be as complete and straightforward as the information reasonably available to the responding party permits.

2. Each answer must admit so much of the matter involved in the request as is true, either as expressed in the request itself or as reasonably and clearly qualified by the responding party.

3. Each answer must deny so much of the matter involved in the request as is untrue.

4. Each answer must specify so much of the matter involved in the request as to the truth of which the responding party lacks sufficient information or knowledge.

5. If a responding party gives lack of information or knowledge as a reason for a failure to admit all or part of a request for admission, that party shall state in the answer that a reasonable inquiry concerning the matter in the particular request has been made, and that the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable that party to admit the matter.

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