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Divorce 101: Discovery

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2015 | Firm News

What is discovery?

Discovery is the legal phrase for the process of discovering facts in a case. There are a variety of discovery methods, including interrogatories, requests for production, third-party requests for production, and depositions.

What are interrogatories?

Interrogatories are a series of questions that must be answered by the party they are served upon under oath. This means anything stated in the interrogatory can be used against you when you testify, so accuracy is of utmost importance.

What are requests for production?

Requests for production are lists of documents that you must produce. Typical requests may seek production of your bank statements, credit card statements, and paystubs. If a document is in your possession, custody or control (meaning you have access to the document), you must produce it. In other words, if you do not physically have your bank statements in your possession, but you can print them off of your bank’s website or you can go to the bank and get a copy, you are required to produce those statements.

What is a deposition?

A deposition is where one party questions the other party on the record. A court reporter is hired who records and transcribes the testimony, resulting in a transcript. This testimony is given under oath and can be used against you during a hearing, so again honesty is of utmost importance.

Why should I serve discovery on my spouse?

Discovery is not always necessary. However, if you are not fully aware of all of the assets and debts that both you and your spouse own, then discovery may be necessary. Additionally, discovery may be necessary to retrieve income information from your spouse. Many cases do not require formal discovery because the parties are able to disclose adequate information through their attorneys in an informal setting (for example, your attorney may ask the opposing attorney to provide your spouse’s bank statements and recent paystubs; if your spouse cooperates, formal discovery may not be necessary).

Do I have to respond to discovery?

Yes! Under the Indiana trial rules, discovery must be responded to by a party it is served on within 30 days. Now, it is possible to ask for an extension, either formally through the court or informally by asking the opposing party or attorney. If you do not respond to discovery, you can face sanctions from the court, including being ordered to pay the legal fees of the opposing party.

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