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The Basics of Discovery

Posted on in Divorce

discovery processIf you are currently involved in a divorce or know anyone going through the same process, you have likely heard of the term “discovery.” If it is your own divorce, you may be growing to hate the discovery process. This post seeks to break down the basics of discovery, outlining what you need to know and how it can greatly benefit your case.

What Is It?

The term discovery is used across nearly every area of law, but in divorce proceedings it refers to the process by which both sides of the divorce gather information about the other side. Discovery is a key component in any litigation, but is absolutely essential in any case where assets, property division, child support or maintenance is at issue.

Different documents and requests commonly involved in a divorce discovery stage include:

  • Financial disclosure statement, where the responding spouse must list his or her assets, liabilities, monthly expenses, and income.
  • Marital or matrimonial interrogatories, which include a list of questions that address employment, assets, real estate, and other issues. Although the list of questions may seem daunting, in DuPage County attorneys are limited to only asking a maximum of 30 questions.
  • Request to produce documents, where the responding spouse must produce the documents requested, which generally include bank statements, any trust documents, documents evidencing loans or mortgages, vehicle titles, among other documents.
  • Subpoenas which, in divorce cases, often summon another party (not just one of the parties to the divorce) to appear at a designated place at a designated time to have a deposition taken by one of the attorneys.

Rules

Discovery is governed by the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Discovery and applicable county rules. According to the Illinois Supreme Court rules, parties can use discovery to obtain information regarding any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, with the exclusion of matters covered under privilege or work product.  

How it Can Help

Although someone served with discovery requests may find the task of gathering all of the responsive information daunting, it is important to understand how useful it is to gain that same information from the other party. Serving your soon-to-be-ex with discovery requests will help establish exactly what assets they have, where certain funds may be held, whether any funds seem to be missing from certain accounts, and what your ex claims his or her expenses to be.

If you or a loved one is going through a divorce or contemplating filing for divorce, call the experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC today to discuss your situation. Our skilled team can help guide you through the discovery process and all other aspects of a divorce, explaining each step along the way.
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