Discovery Proceedings In Divorce Action Interfere With Criminal Investigation In The Case Of A Missing Child

The ongoing saga of missing child Kyron Horman and the divorce battle between his father Kaine Horman and stepmother Terri Moulton Horman took another turn this past September. On June 4, 2010, then-seven-year-old Kyron disappeared sometime after being dropped off by his stepmother at Skyline School. The disappearance led to the most extensive search-and-rescue operation ever conducted in Oregon, but Kyron has still not been found. While no arrests have been made, the investigation has centered on Terri Moulton Horman. Shortly after the disappearance, Kaine Horman filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against his wife, alleging she was responsible for both his son’s disappearance and a plot to have him killed. Multnomah County prosecutors have continued with their investigation while the divorce action proceeds.

Now, the Judge in the divorce action has started ruling on who the parties can take depositions from and what they can ask. Terri Moulton Horman's lawyers want her to be able to plead the Fifth, so as not to incriminate herself, while prosecutors want to prevent her lawyers from asking her husband about his knowledge of the ongoing criminal investigation. The Judge has already denied Mrs. Horman's request to question the lead criminal investigator but allowed her lawyers to question faculty at Skyline School.

Discovery procedures in a divorce action

The parties to a divorce action are entitled to obtain information from the other side. This process is referred to as the discovery process. In a divorce proceeding, there are several different discovery devices that the court can allow the attorneys to use, including:

  • Financial disclosure: ORS Chapter 107.089 provides that each spouse can compel the other to provide documents showing their financial situation, including tax returns for the past three years, deeds, real estate contracts, investments, retirement accounts and other evidence showing the spouses' income, debts and assets.
  • Depositions: A deposition is a formal questioning by the attorney of one spouse of the other spouse or another relevant witness; depositions are taken under oath and recorded by a stenographer.
  • Psychological examination: The court may order one or both parents to undergo psychological testing particularly in custody disputes. The court may also have the children talk to an independent psychologist.

Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P. family lawyers serve clients in the Portland area and throughout Oregon. We have earned our reputation for being adept at gaining the information our clients need and are entitled to in their divorce proceedings.

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