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You have filed for divorce and the other party has been served and answered or has signed a waiver.  We have either agreed to temporary orders or have had a hearing and the court has issued a ruling.  Now it is time to do discovery to determine (1) the extent and value of the assets of the marital estate and (2) find out any information that may be helpful in deciding custody and support issues.

Discovery is the process where one party learns from the other party, information that is relevant to the lawsuit.  We can do discovery formally or informally.  If we do it informally, I will talk to the other attorney and ask that we exchange information by a certain date.  This avoids the time and expense of sending out formal discovery and having to prepare answers to the other party's formal discovery.  It is much less expensive than doing formal discovery.  If we cannot agree, then I send formal discovery.  Formal discovery usually consists of interrogatories (questions about relevant issues), Requests for Production (asking for the production of documents, including bank records, tax returns, financial records, credit card statements, real estate and vehicle titles, etc.), and Requests for Disclosure (general information about any claims made in the other party's pleadings).  If it is necessary, we may decide to take the other party's deposition, which is sworn testimony done in a question and answer form before a court reporter.  Because depositions are expensive, I usually do not take them unless there is quite a bit of property and money at stake or child issues that cannot be resolved any other way.

If you are served with discovery requests, immediately contact your attorney who will tell you how to proceed.  There are time limits on each form of discovery, and failure to respond within those limits can cause serious problems down the line.

Discovery is important because it is impossible to resolve the issues that come up during a divorce without knowing the facts.  Generally a major issue in a divorce case is the nature and value of property.  It is important that we know about all of the property the parties own and the value of that property.  Discovery is one way to get that information.  We often prepare and exchange sworn inventories of property and debts.  That helps us evaluate the property and come up with ideas about how to divide it upon divorce.  If there are children involved and the parties cannot agree on custody and/or support, we also need to do discovery to determine who the better parent might be and what the assets of the non-custodial parent are so we can set child support or ask the court to do so, if we cannot reach an agreement.

Client Area

When you come to my office for our first meeting, if we agree that I will take your case, I will ask you to fill out a client information sheet, custody worksheet, if there are children, and a financial information sheet.

FAQ

This information is designed to assist you in answering some basic questions regarding family law issues.

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