If we’re being honest, no divorce is fun. Even when uncontested with both parties in mutual agreement on everything, the process itself is can be a bit stressful. However, a contested divorce takes that stress to a whole new level both emotionally and financially.
When a couple cannot come to an agreement, and a divorce is contested, part of the process of getting ready for a trial is formal discovery. This goes far beyond the general exchange of information. Divorce discovery can be brutal in that it takes a deep dive into every hidden corner of your life. Hard evidence must be provided for each and every answer or claim you offer. This will include documents, videos, pictures, emails, recordings, and/or social media posts. There are five main types of discovery.
- Interrogatories – These are a list of in-depth questions that delve into specific information regarding education, work history, income and assets, life insurance policies, retirement policies, and multiple others.
- Requests for Admission – a series of statements and/or questions that the party must either admit or deny. Important because once an admission is made, it is difficult for anyone to change their story. Failure to respond within 30 days of request is considered an admission.
- Requests for Production – A formal request for specific documents such as witness lists, physical evidence such as photos, documents, or recordings, financial statements, and written statements, just to name a few.
- Depositions – Sworn testimony taken from involved parties. Usually taken at an attorney’s office with a court reporter present. If a witness in unable to attend trial, a sworn deposition can take the place of physical testimony.
- Subpoenas – Multiple subpoenas will be sent out within a contested divorce. They may include witnesses to events that took place between the divorcing spouses, or witnesses that can testify as to the safety and wellbeing of a child.
Clearly, contested divorce is a complex, time-consuming process. It is not recommended that anyone attempt to navigate it without the expert advice and guidance of a knowledgeable attorney. It is too easy to become buried under mountains of paperwork while extremely important matters such as child custody are at stake. An attorney can make sure your rights are protected, and that no crucial deadlines are missed.