It is important that both parties to a divorce have access to relevant information and evidence about the other party. For example, parties need financial information to evaluate the proper amount of child or spousal support. Information about assets and debts is needed to properly identify and divide marital property.
To obtain evidence and relevant information, parties are entitled to conduct a process called discovery.
In discovery, a party may ask the other spouse for information about:
- The other spouse’s position on issues in the divorce
- Evidence or witnesses the spouse may offer in support of their position
- Any documents or other information relevant to the divorce, especially financial documents
A party conducts discovery to obtain information and documents through a number of methods, including:
- Requests for production of documents in which a party demands copies of documents, such as financial statements or pay stubs
- Interrogatories, in which a party submits written questions that the other party must answer under oath in writing
- Depositions in which a party must answer questions under oath before a court reporter
- Requests of admissions in which a party asks the other party to admit a fact, such an admission that a spouse owns certain assets
Discovery is an important process allowing parties to obtain evidence. Failure to comply with discovery can lead to sanctions from the court, including payment of an opponent’s attorney fees or exclusion of evidence.
Parties to a divorce should consult a knowledgeable attorney, who can help with drafting discovery requests and responding to requests from the other party.