For spouses who have begun the divorce process, the road ahead can seem long and incomprehensible. The many stages, endless negotiations, and the need to decipher legalese can be challenging and frustrating. Although you may be familiar with the process of filing for divorce and understand what it means to negotiate, there is one stage of divorce that stumps many people: Discovery. In this blog, we will cover some important facts about discovery so you know what to expect when it is time for yours.
Most Divorces Do Not Have a Discovery Phase
If you have been stressing over the discovery process, take a breath – you may not even need to go through it. Discovery is reserved for contested divorces where spouses dispute the facts. Because Illinois family courts encourage divorcing couples to resolve their differences through mediation or collaborative divorce, most couples can come to an agreement without needing the discovery process at all. In a non-contested divorce, spouses will freely share information with their attorney and both parties will agree as to the facts of the case.
Discovery to Meant to Facilitate Negotiations
Discovery allows both spouses and their attorneys to get the evidence they need so they can address disputed issues transparently and fairly. Although spouses may resist sharing important information, discovery makes it possible to get necessary documents because there are legal consequences for failing to comply. Most of the discovery process is about finances, and once both parties have a complete picture of each other’s financial situation, fair negotiations can proceed.
Discovery Has Six Basic Elements
There are many ways to get information during discovery, and the kinds of methods attorneys use will depend largely on how transparent and cooperative spouses are. Not every divorce will include all of the following six methods:
Formal requests – Attorneys will ask for copies of documents they need, such as life insurance policies and pay stubs, and spouses are required to comply.
Interrogatories – These are written questions related to the divorce, usually about income or work history, that spouses send to each other and must complete within 28 days.
Admissions of Fact – Spouses can ask questions that must be confirmed or denied, and these can help spouses and attorneys get a direct “yes” or “no” answer on unclear issues.
Requests for Production – Attorneys can use requests for production to get specific documents that they want to examine. This includes reports from expert witnesses, financial documents, or statements by either party.
Depositions – These are statements made under oath and transcribed by a court reporter, used to get a spouse’s testimony before going to trial.
Subpoenas – Subpoenas are court orders requiring a spouse or anyone else to testify in court. Subpoenas can also require someone to produce specific documents.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
At Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our skilled Hinsdale, IL divorce attorneys have experience in every step of divorce, from filing the initial papers to receiving the final prove-up. We will keep you prepared and informed throughout the divorce process so you know what to expect and what you need to do. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you. Call our offices at 630-920-8855.