Discovery Process in a Divorce
The discovery process is one of the first steps in a divorce. It involves the spouses’ exchange of information related to their personal and financial situations, which will include gathering information about property ownership, income, and debt. Collecting this information is necessary before a court can decide how to fairly divide property and assets between the two parties. It also informs decisions related to child support and alimony.
It is most common for an informal exchange of information to take place between the divorcing parties’ attorneys. If a divorce is more contentious, or if there are many assets, the procedures that attorneys must adopt are more strict. Your attorney can use these procedures to gain information about your former spouse that will make your own case stronger.
This early step in the divorce proceedings may be difficult and could turn into a long ordeal if complications arise. That said, the skilled lawyers at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC can expedite the divorce discovery process and create less of a headache for you. Our attorneys have ample experience in carrying out this process in an efficient, streamlined manner. We have the knowledge and resources to make this process as simple for you as possible. Although the discovery process can be frustrating, it will result in a wealth of information about your former partnership that will be integral to the division of assets in your favor.
There are several different ways in which you can access or submit information in the discovery process.
Interrogatories are a list of questions that your attorney sends to your former spouse’s attorney. Depending on your county of residence, this is a court-mandated step of the divorce process. It is required by law that all of the submitted questions be answered fully and honestly. Questions are used to gather evidence and information about the former partnership to inform the direction of the divorce trial, and may possibly be used as evidence in court. Currently, there is a limit of 50 questions on all interrogatories, including subparts of questions. The opposing party must respond to all of the questions within 30 days of receiving them.
Requests for Production are another form of discovery that is similar to interrogatories. They allow the requesting party to gather evidence about the former partnership by requesting information or documents including drawings, graphs, photographs, phone records, and other tangible items. Requests can also be made to enter the land or property that is in the possession of, or controlled by, the former spouse in order for your attorney to measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the property. Like interrogatories, most parties have 30 days to respond to a request for production. Requests for production are valuable because they can be served upon more than just the former partner. Requests can be sent to non-parties such as other individuals, firms, healthcare facilities, and corporations who may hold necessary evidence. If a request is sent to one of these non-parties, the former spouse (i.e. the opposing party) must also be served with a copy of the same request for information.
Requests for Admission are similar to requests for production in their function, but instead of requesting documents or information about property or other objects, they require the former spouse to make certain factual admissions to questions sent to them. The opposing party must answer within 30 days of the request and the answers must be truthful.
Depositions are a good opportunity to gather important information from other parties because they allow examination and confrontation of the opposing parties in person. Depositions can happen at any time during the discovery period. They function in ways similar to a trial, with attorneys examining and cross-examining witnesses and recording their entire testimony. Attorneys can make objections about the evidence and conduct of the opposing counsel. The information gathered from the deposition will be used as evidence during the rest of the divorce process.
No decisions about your divorce agreement will be made during the discovery process. This is simply the way each attorney will gather relevant information relevant to the divorce. Each attorney will use the information they gather during discovery when they present their case to the judge for consideration. For example, your attorney may gather documentation about significant debt or assets through a Request for Production, that they may then use to argue for or against alimony payments in your divorce agreement.
With an experienced divorce attorney from Kessler & Solomiany, LLC on your side, you can trust that the discovery process of your divorce will run smoothly. We will work to thoroughly gather relevant information about your former partnership, which will be integral to a satisfying result once your divorce is finalized. Contact us today at (404) 688-8810 to schedule a confidential initial consultation.