What to Expect During Divorce Discovery
During divorce proceedings, the discovery process is an important stage that allows both parties to gather the necessary evidence they need to make their cases. While the main point of discovery is to understand the finances of a marriage and how those finances will be split, the information revealed during discovery can go beyond finances. During discovery, both parties will gather an exorbitant amount of information, ranging from financials to employment records and even criminal history.
Discovery is executed through different discovery processes. These different processes allow both parties to collect specific types of information by following specific procedures. Let’s go over the different types of discovery used in divorce cases, and the type of information that can be disclosed through each. If you need help filing or responding to a divorce petition, discovery requests, or related matters, contact Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt to discuss your case with a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer in Carol Stream and Chicago.
The formal disclosure consists of both parties sharing their financial information via a Financial Disclosure Statement. This official document is a sworn affidavit that outlines both parties’ financial debts and liabilities, assets, and income streams. Within Illinois, different counties will require different pieces of information to be recorded on the Financial Disclosure Statement. However, the aim is the same, to reveal the finances of both parties. Things that can be asked about can include but are not limited to the following:
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns and other tax-related documents
- Mortgage statements
- Documentation regarding life insurance
- Retirement and other savings account information
Request to Admit Facts and Request for Genuineness of Documents
This next discovery measure is not often used but can appear from time to time during a divorce discovery process. With both tactics, one or both parties can be asked to clarify, admit, or prove elements of their case. This is done through “Request to Admit Facts” and “Request for Genuineness of Documents.”
Request to Admit Facts
This measure is administered through a form that is sent to the other party. On the form are different questions or statements pertaining to financial and other aspects of the marriage. The receiving party must admit to the statements as being true, or deny them. The receiving party has 28 days to answer these questions. If they are not answered, all the statements on the document will be admitted.
Request of Genuineness of Documents
This measure is similar to a Request to Admit Facts. Instead of questions, however, a receiving party will be given a set of documents to overlook. The receiving party must determine whether the documents are genuine. If a party does not respond to the request by 28 days, the documents will be admitted as being genuine.
Request for Production
In many instances, both parties will be asked to provide documents pertaining to their financials. This can include tax returns, bank and credit card statements, and loan documents involving mortgages, car loans, and personal loans. Revealing these documents allows the parties and the court to get a full picture of the financials in order to determine the appropriate distribution.
In cases where the interrogatory discovery measure is applied, a party will be asked a set of questions that they must answer. These questions will typically be related to finances, but they can also include questions regarding parenting, how parenting responsibilities and house duties are split up, and other questions about the marriage.
A deposition is another form of discovery that can take place during divorce proceedings. A deposition is a formal meeting that consists of questions and answers. Attorneys for both parties are present, in addition to a court reporter. Questions asked during a deposition can be related to anything pertaining to the marriage. There may be extensive questions asked about financial documents, assets accrued before and during the marriage, debts, and other financial questions. Additionally, questions and answers brought up during a deposition can be brought forward during a trial.
Subpoenas are a method in which one party can compel another party to produce documents or other information on a case. Subpoenas are typically issued to a third party that may have critical information about finances involved in a divorce. For example, a subpoena can be issued to a mortgage lender, a bank, or even a party’s employer. Failing to respond to a subpoena can lead to penalties, including being in contempt of court. For this reason, subpoenas can be an effective discovery process tool used during divorce proceedings.
Work With an Experienced Divorce Attorney
With over thirty years of experience, the team at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, P.C. is committed to delivering the representation you deserve. If you are navigating a divorce, having the right legal team by your side can prove invaluable to the discovery process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation on your case and work with family law experts who will fight for your rights.