Discovery in Divorce

 Posted on January 15, 2015 in Divorce

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, divorce negotiations, marital property, financial records, As a marital relationship deteriorates all aspects of the marriage are affected. This ranges all the way from affection to finances. Once divorce becomes imminent, affection becomes less critical and finances become an all important facet of the relationship. There are two highly contested issues that couples dispute whilst going through a divorce: children and money. If you and your spouse have a respectful relationship throughout the divorce process and are able to discuss these peacefully, all the better. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Tempers run short and emotions flare when two adults decide to split the life they have created together. Fortunately, courts recognize this and have created a process by which couples can get an accurate picture of each others’ finances, even without the help of one another. This process is known as “discovery.”

What is Discovery?    

Discovery is a process by which litigants are legally required to request and admit certain information that is pertinent to their case. In divorce, this generally relates to each spouse’s financial situation. Discovery is regulated by the Illinois Rules of Civil Procedure, a lengthy and highly technical piece of legislation. Each of the techniques used are sworn under oath and are used in the divorce process to determine the assets of each spouse. There are different methods for achieving similar means. For example, interrogatories are written questions that one party delivers to another, to which the opposing party must respond to the best of their knowledge. On the other hand, a deposition is an interview taken under oath and on the record in which the attorneys will ask questions of witnesses, spouses, or related parties. Each of these has a very specific deadline by which the party must respond. If they do not respond, the court can impose sanctions or prohibit the party from using that information at all.

What Information Can I Ask For?  

Every divorce is different. What pertains to one divorce will not necessarily even be involved in another. That being said, there are common features to contested divorces; namely, that one spouse does not want to disclose financial information to the other. Through the process of discovery you can require that your spouse disclose various aspects of their finances, such as:

  • Documents verifying the location and value of the spouse’s property;
  • Information regarding your spouse’s reported income. This may include tax returns, W-2’s, retirement accounts, stocks, and bonus checks; and
  • Emails or other documents that might evidence that a spouse has been wasting marital assets.

Depending on the exact dispute in your particular situation there are a myriad other documents that may be useful.

Do I Need An Attorney?

It is not required in Illinois that a party have an attorney to seek a divorce or even engage in the discovery process. It will, however, make your divorce much less stressful. An attorney can ensure that no discovery deadlines are missed, no accounts are overlooked, and no miscalculation causes the court to sanction you. Our experienced Kane County divorce attorneys can offer you compassionate and quality advice about how to make your divorce work for you. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.
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