In a nutshell, the discovery process is the investigation phase that follows the filing of divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities. It provides both parties with full transparency of information that neither side may be privy to. Both parties must exchange information about finances, asset values, debts, and other important aspects of the case. A battle-hardened attorney with experience in contested divorce cases is a strong weapon to wield in these situations.
5 Methods of Discovery
The discovery process uncovers evidence and proof for divorcing couples to use in contested issues. There are five methods that an attorney can use for discovery:
- Request for Admissions
- Subpoena Duces Tecum
- Request for Production
An attorney may use one or all of these methods in an attempt to uncover the truth of specific issues on behalf of their client. They will request information from you that they will review and submit to the opposing party. The more information provided, the better the case will look, allowing your attorney to set realistic expectations for your case.
Request for Admissions
This method requests the opposing party admit or deny specific facts under oath. There can only be a yes or no answer provided by the other party. Admissions can help establish accurate “truths” before a trial begins by narrowing the trial’s scope and determining what factors of the case are currently disputable.
Subpoena Duces Tecum
It is not considered discovery, but subpoenas are still an excellent way for an attorney to gather information. The opposing party can choose to deny access to certain records, such as bank statements or accounts. You may also believe that not all information regarding certain accounts has been provided. In this case, you can prepare a subpoena to the bank or other third party to produce the requested information and documentation. A failure to produce the requested records on the part of the subpoenaed party can result in contempt of court.
A deposition can be written or video recorded and is a sworn testimony from a witness or the opposing party. The statement is made under oath, recorded by a court reporter, and used as evidence in a trial. A deposition can be used to contradict a witness’s testimony or submitted to the court as admissions.
Request for Production
Before the need for a subpoena, parties can request documentation from one another. These documents are often things like:
- Credit card statements
- Retirement accounts
- Bank statements
- Income tax returns on a business
- Property appraisals
- Emails or text messages
- Anything else relevant to the case
A party who receives a request for production has 28 days after receiving the notice to provide the documentation.
Unlike admissions, interrogatories are open-ended questions that must be answered in writing. They are used to extract facts for specific events. Your attorney can coach you through the answers and object to any question that seems unfair, burdensome, or difficult to answer. You will need to sign an oath declaring your answers to be factual and correct.
Contact a Cook County, IL Divorce Attorney
The discovery process can be difficult to understand but is a necessary process to uncover full transparency in a trial. A skilled Chicago, IL divorce and family law attorney can provide answers to any questions you may have about the discovery process. They can also represent you at trial and perform the discovery process on your behalf. Contact the [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free consultation and a discussion on your rights.