Most Illinois divorce cases are now resolved using alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and arbitration. Many couples try to resolve as many issues as possible before even filing for divorce so they can increase the chance of having an uncontested divorce, which allows for a faster, cheaper divorce process.
Unfortunately, divorce negotiation is neither practical nor safe for every divorcing couple. No matter how unpleasant the experience may be, some divorces need to come before a judge so each partner has a fair chance to make their arguments and ensure the law is applied correctly.
When a divorce does go to trial, there is an important fact-gathering step called discovery. If you anticipate divorce litigation, it is important to understand the discovery process, what will be expected of you, and what kind of information you may need to provide.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the process through which each spouse’s attorney can demand information from the other spouse. Spouses can provide information before the discovery process, but the formal discovery process has more “teeth” – that is, spouses are expected to comply during discovery and providing false or misleading information during discovery can have consequences.
During discovery, spouses request information through their attorneys, mostly about financial affairs. You will likely need to provide at least the following information:
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns from previous years
- Asset statements, such as real estate mortgages and vehicle loans
- Investment account and bank account statements
- A thorough accounting of any other valuable possessions, such as jewelry or collectibles
Attorneys have many strategies for procuring important information during discovery. They may call you into a deposition, which is a kind of legal interview given under oath. Lying in a deposition is the same as lying to a judge and may result in charges of contempt of court, so depositions are usually highly effective at getting access to truthful information. Attorneys may also use formal requests for production, subpoenas, interrogatories, and more.
Because of its complex nature and because spouses often drag their feet to make the divorce process more expensive and difficult for each other, discovery can take months to complete. Once it is finished, the process moves forward to litigation. However, once each attorney has the complete picture of the other side’s information, they may try to convince the other side to negotiate. A judge may also review each spouse’s information and then hold a pre-trial hearing trying to convince spouses to compromise before the matter goes to court.
Call a Lombard, IL Divorce Litigation Lawyer for Help with Your Case
If you anticipate your divorce going through the litigation process rather than being resolved through negotiation, it is important to have the legal assistance of an experienced, assertive DuPage County divorce litigation attorney. At [[title]], we have helped many clients take their cases before a judge and we will argue passionately to ensure your rights are protected. Call us today at [[phone]] to schedule a free, confidential consultation.