A couple may amass several assets during their marriage, which can make decisions on property division difficult in a divorce. Most divorce cases involve discovery, a process where both parties must disclose their marital and separate assets, income, and debts to each other. Although labor-intensive, the process helps promotes fair negotiation by ensuring both parties have the same information before going to trial.
Types of divorce discovery
Interrogatories are written questions that an attorney may request the other spouse to answer under oath. Its purpose is to collect information and inquire about everything from a person’s employment record to their health insurance coverage. The party in question may consult with their lawyer before answering.
Request for documentation
Both attorneys may request specific documents they want to examine from the other party, such as bank statements, insurance policies, witness lists, photographs, emails, and business records. If the other party denies or ignores the request, the court may order a notice to produce.
Request for admission
These are a series of questions stating facts that the other party must confirm or deny. These admissions help speed up a trial since there will be no need to prove if they are valid or false.
Each spouse may require the collection of sworn testimonies from the other spouse, witnesses, and experts through a deposition. These testimonies can be used to establish or contest the credibility of a witness during the trial.
Consequences of providing false information
Some individuals may attempt to provide false or incomplete information to sway the settlement in their favor. However, if found guilty, the perpetrator may face fines, a perjury charge, and possible jail time. Furthermore, to compensate for the deception, the court may grant the honest party a larger portion of the marital assets.
Discovery typically examines all relevant material dating back at least three years. Complying would mean sorting through hundreds of financial statements, records, and files. Unless the court grants an extension, both parties must complete the procedure within 90 to 120 days of filing the divorce petition.
The discovery process helps uncover a wealth of information that can empower individuals to improve their divorce agreement. However, it can be emotionally and financially taxing. Having a compassionate yet competent lawyer can make a world of difference during this trying time.