Discovery involves gathering information about either party in the divorce. Read this guide to better understand the ins and outs of divorce discovery.
Once you realize your spouse has taken the initial divorce papers to get the divorce process started, they will have to share information on their finances and personal situations in what’s called the discovery process. This will include their debt, property ownership, and income.
The laws of divorce discovery will vary from state to state, although there are some common steps that each state uses. Following these steps will make it easier for either spouse to find out what arguments the other party intends to use, helping them form better cases as well as limiting the frustration and headaches associated with long divorce processes.
What You Need to Know About Divorce Discovery
The discovery process in a divorce procedure ensures you get the information you need and that the information is admissible in court.
Here’s a guide to the five steps of the discovery process and how it can help you make the divorce easier for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
It’s crucial you obtain all the evidence you need from the other party so that you can use it in court to your favor. The disclosure step is where each party provides all the evidence they will use against the other person in court.
However, this process is not always straightforward and simple. Sometimes the court may need some of the disclosures provided in the initial stages. However, that will limit requests for certain disclosures not requested in good intent.
This is just a way of delaying the process and creates more stress for the non-requesting parties.
The information you disclose will include debt, assets, finances, property, and any other relevant information that will help the courts make the right decision on how to distribute property and child support. When you have an objection as to information, you can ask your attorney to object the request. Because the other party objectively has a right to the information, you need to provide legal evidence for the objection.
This is yet another crucial part of the discovery process. It helps individuals learn facts that will support the pleading the opposing parties served them. It is the most commonly used method in the discovery process.
It primarily determines the issues between the parties and helps you prepare a responsive pleading.
There are two types of interrogatories: form and special interrogatories. Form interrogatories are the general questions, asked in most cases while attorneys prepare special interrogatories.
Each type of interrogatory answers specific questions on the case. You need to do thorough research to ensure that you ask valid questions and get leverage that will favor you in the divorce proceedings.
It’s also important to remember the other party is not obligated to answer the interrogatories that involve any matters beyond their control. If the questions have multiple requests, are not valued or have material problems in their construction, the parties also have the freedom to object to the questions. They will not answer them until the court determines that the questions are valid and need an answer.
Unlike the questions asked in interrogatories, depositions always involve finding live witnesses who answer questions relating to the case. It is an out-of-court testimony.
In many cases, these do not involve the court and often take place in an attorney’s office. The only people present are the person deposed, a qualified person to administer an oath and the attorneys. Sometimes, they are recorded by the stenographer.
Today, electronic recordings are much more common. The lawyers are not allowed to coach their witnesses, and their ability to object here is limited.
- There are a few exceptions during depositions:
- When witnesses are unavailable for trial
- If they admit to something that is against their interests
- When their testimonies in the trail contradicts their deposition testimonies
Requests of Production
You have the right to request documents from the opposing party relating to issues in the divorce cases. When requesting, it’s important that you have a description of the individual items or by category.
Some information you need to specify:
- The people you will call as expert witnesses
- Documents each expert witness will rely on to make an opinion
- Signed, recorded or written statements of the parties over the divorce action’s subject matter
- Any documents used to subpoena requests from either party
Admissions of Facts
These short lists of sentences include the facts that opposing parties need to answer. These sentences are served to the opposing parties, and any other parties you feel are relevant to the case. For instance, if adultery is the basis for your divorce, you can serve the admissions and facts to your spouse, and the man or woman involved.
If they do not respond in 30 days, this is also an admission of facts. Look at the civil procedures and rules of your state on how admission of facts work.
During The Divorce Discovery
It’s necessary you’re sincere in this process. If you’re caught in a lie, you’re only setting yourself back. You also need to disclose everything to your attorney to ensure they have a well-informed view of the case.
For more information on divorce proceedings or to talk to an experienced legal professional, call us today at (402) 415-2525.