Discovery is not one particular item in a divorce. Rather it is an ongoing process that occurs after the filing of divorce and before a divorce trial or settlement. The name “discovery” refers to the formal process by which spouses’ attorneys request information and evidence from one another. This information may be financial or any other factual type concerning the spouse’s relationship to the children, adultery, abuse, neglect, or another relevant divorce issue.
Discovery allows both spouses and their attorneys a better understanding of the overall divorce picture and any evidentiary proof available to support their cases in the upcoming settlement or trial procedures. Depending on spouses, their mindsets, communication ability, and willingness to cooperate, discovery can be a minor hassle or a lengthy and expensive battle.
The amount and necessity of formal discovery are proportionate to divorcing spouses’ financial assets, property and debt division, and child care needs. If a divorce is an asset and debt-heavy and parents have complex scheduling and parenting concerns, both sides must work diligently and provide honest and accurate information in an upfront and timely manner. When spouses fail to produce discovery requests, there are courtroom penalties and consequences.
The different forms of discovery include:
Discovery begins after a divorce is initiated. Most discovery requests must be answered within twenty-eight days.
Interrogatories are written questions answered under oath. Most are general questions about a spouse’s education, work history, assets, income, personal property, and insurance policies.
Requests for producing documents are formal requests to provide documents containing financial information or any photographs, videos, emails, and written or recorded statements made about the divorce.
Requests for admission are questions stating facts asking for a confirmation or denial. These are facts that are generally not in dispute between spouses.
Subpoenas are used to request information from third parties. A subpoena can request documents or command the person receiving the subpoena to appear to testify.
A deposition is scheduled testimony, under oath, of a witness, outside the courtroom. It is recorded and used as a tool to determine how a witness will testify at trial or to contradict a witness’s testimony later at trial.
Discovery can be a stressful process. However, it is essential to remember that your attorney is there to help you through the process. Always be forthcoming with your attorney and with your discovery answers to your spouse’s attorney. Information discovered later could not only damage your case, but your attorney cannot protect or defend you from documents or knowledge that you withhold from them.
When you need an experienced Chandler divorce attorney to guide you through the discovery process, contact the attorneys at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC. We want to answer your discovery questions and address your concerns about your upcoming or pending divorce. Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, is a full-service family law firm and can help you with any of your divorce, asset division, and child custody issues.
Reach out to Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, online or by phone to now schedule your consultation.