Discovery Phase in a Divorce Action

In a divorce proceeding, the discovery phase is when each party is compelled to provide information and an inventory of their personal finances and property. Additionally, this is the time when all assets must be declared so they can be factored into a settlement. It is important that each party be truthful and forthcoming about the assets they do have. Failure to do so could result in sanctions by the court.

Assets include the following:

  • Property
  • Bank accounts
  • Personal property
  • Pension and/or retirement funds and accounts

Limited Discovery in an Uncontested Divorce Case

The term discovery phase is actually a bit of a misnomer when it concerns divorce proceedings. In an uncontested divorce, a limited discovery will generally occur wherein the parties willingly provide bank account, assets, and property information to achieve a quick settlement.

Discovery Methods in Contested Divorce Cases

In a contested divorce case, a variety of methods are available for the purpose of determining the true extent of an individual’s assets. These options may include depositions, written interrogatories, requests to produce, or requests to admit.

Depositions in a divorce case are often used as a type of fact-finding mission to uncover and verify a person’s personal assets. A deposition is an out-of-court testimony of a witness. Initially, both parties will be deposed in a contested divorce case. The opposing attorney will verbally ask the witness questions and the witness must answer the questions to the best of his or her ability.

Written interrogatories are written questions from the opposing party that require written responses. Interrogatories can contain questions that ask about a wide range of topics and require detailed and specific answers.

Requests to produce are essentially a demand to produce written documents or any other tangible items that are in question or requested by the opposing party. If the party is in possession of these documents and/or items, they must be produced.

Requests to admit are written requests from the opposing side for a party to admit to certain facts or admit the authenticity of a document. The party must either admit or deny each fact or document’s authenticity asked for in the request.

Contact a Divorce Attorney

If you have decided to end your marriage, or your spouse has filed for divorce, you need a seasoned attorney advocating for you. Call a law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a divorce attorney in Tampa, FL to find out how they can help. Divorce attorneys have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, including child custody, child support, division of property, and more. A legal team will use all available resources to get you the best possible outcome based on the circumstances of your case.

Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and the discovery phase of divorce proceedings.