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DuPage County divorce attorneysNot all Illinois couples who are getting a divorce will have to resort to litigation to reach a resolution, but those who do will need to prepare for an often lengthy process with multiple steps. One of the most important steps that takes place before a divorce trial is the discovery period. As you prepare for your divorce, you may have questions about what discovery entails, especially if you have not been involved in any civil court proceedings in the past.

A Structured Exchange of Information

The purpose of the discovery period is to allow both spouses, along with their legal representatives, to obtain important, relevant information before the trial begins. Usually, this information pertains to each party’s finances and helps to provide a more complete picture to inform decisions regarding the division of marital assets, spousal support, and child support. There are a several ways in which information may be acquired during discovery, including:

  • Exchange of documents - Each party may ask that the other provide documents including income and tax statements, pay stubs, bank statements, and other financial documentation. In some cases, a subpoena can be requested to compel the other party to produce evidence that they do not willingly provide.
  • Interrogatories - These take the form of questions submitted by one party to the other, with written answers provided under oath, typically after consulting with an attorney.
  • Depositions - Each party may ask for oral testimony, given under oath, from the other party and other witnesses. Testimony provided in a deposition can later be presented as evidence in the trial.

The guidance of an experienced attorney is crucial during the discovery period, both to carry out a strategy for obtaining as much useful information as possible, and to advise you on how best to respond to the other party’s requests. The assistance of financial experts can also be important to help you interpret the information you and your attorney obtain.

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