Most divorces include some form of discovery. In divorce and separation, many couples work through their differences with the help of counselors or mediators. However, you and your spouse might not be able to agree on the terms of your divorce or separation.
In such a case, your divorce lawyers would engage in a discovery process during which each attorney would attempt, to the best of their abilities, to protect the interests of their client by compiling all the information pertinent to that client’s case. We’ll examine strategies for avoiding discovery during a divorce. Why would you want to do this, and what actions should you take in the process?
Divorce discovery: what is it?
Two of the tasks accomplished during divorce discovery are gathering and sharing research. The procedure aids in your lawyer’s comprehension of the advantages and disadvantages of your case. Your attorney can use this information to help you win your case if it goes to trial.
Many regulations govern the discovery process, which takes place long before the trial begins. Attorneys may utilize discovery, for instance, to compel the opposition to provide information that will strengthen their case. And nobody can turn down a discovery request. Failing to do so may result in harsh penalties and fines.
Your lawyer usually starts the discovery process because it’s a legal procedure. The work starts as soon as you hire a lawyer and file for divorce.
How to Avoid Discovery in Divorce: The Following Factors May Affect the Timeline
Complexity: Divorces with high levels of conflict and substantial assets call for more discovery than do simpler cases.
Collaboration: The process proceeds more quickly when two parties cooperate.
Urgency: To ensure that the discovery process proceeds very slowly, some legal teams employ delay strategies.
Your attorney will request all records and information pertinent to your divorce. During discovery, you are free to say anything you believe will help you support your position.
Attorneys frequently request credit card statements, bank statements, and home appraisals. However, your attorney may also request expert opinions or witness statements.
How to Avoid Discovery in Divorce: Information on Divorce Discovery
A contested divorce that goes to trial includes discovery. A courtroom is never involved in the 90% of uncontested divorces.
Divorces fall under the civil case category. More than 60% of all civil cases that end in a trial involve claims of loss, damage, or injury by third parties.
Divorce discovery procedures can be laborious to finish. For instance, during discovery in Utah, a person has 28 days to reply to a request for documents.
Although contested divorces in court can cost $20,000 or more, the average cost of a divorce is $7,000.
How to Avoid Discovery in Divorce
It is possible to have a third party assist in establishing the conditions of your separation, which will eventually become part of the final divorce agreement, rather than asking your solicitors to negotiate on your behalf. “Mediation” is the process of working with a third party to resolve your conflicts. Through mediation, a qualified third party can assist you in understanding one another’s perspectives and resolving conflicts.
A court will approve a divorce without requiring a discovery procedure if you both agree on all terms of your separation and divorce. There are a lot of things that you and your partner need to agree on.
- custody of children
- Visitation of children
- child assistance
- Health insurance is important.
- Distribution of Assets and Property
Additionally, a default divorce occurs when your spouse declines to participate in the divorce process and does not appear in court. The discovery procedure is also not necessary in this instance.
How to Avoid Discovery in Divorce: Benefits and Drawbacks of Divorce Discovery
For your lawyer, the discovery process can be very beneficial. Upon completion, your legal team will possess a lucid comprehension of your marriage and a well-organized plan to effectively defend your case in court.
But the process of discovery can be drawn out, costly, and taxing. Your attorney has to locate any document, witness, or piece of evidence that the opposing party requests. Some spouses know they are hurting their ex-partner, so they bombard them with requests.
How Does the Discovery Phase of a Divorce Proceed?
Data collection and information sharing between your attorney and your spouse’s attorney start shortly after you file for divorce. While each case is unique, the majority follow these steps:
- Official revelations
Most states require couples to complete financial forms on their own and then share them. Even though you most likely shared debts and assets during your marriage, you still need to list everything you own and owe. To strengthen your case, your attorneys can search these documents for discrepancies and go further.
The second step consists of written questions. The attorney for your spouse gathers a litany of inquiries about your history, possessions, earnings, retirement accounts, and more. With the help of your attorney, you provide written responses to these queries.
- A warning to generate
After identifying any potentially missing information (like a home appraisal, other people’s recorded statements, or important emails), your attorney contacts the other party to request the missing data for the case.
Your spouse’s attorney presents several claims during the Admission of Facts phase, which you must either affirm or refute. You’ll ask your spouse to do the same. Your attorney will assist you in providing a thoughtful response, as once made, these declarations are difficult to take back.
The two attorneys create lists of individuals or organizations that possess data about your union. Certain subpoenas compel witnesses to testify in court or during a deposition. Others request some sort of documentation or evidence from the individual or group.
- Cash Inflows
Witnesses, which include you and your spouse, go to a lawyer’s office to provide an official statement. A court reporter records everything you say, and the opposing party receives access to those recordings.
Giving a deposition does not always mean you can avoid testifying in court. Lawyers occasionally take advantage of these chances to expose a lie. This could be a great follow-up question if you provide one response during a deposition and a different one during the trial.
The Price of Divorce Discovery
Trial preparation takes a lot of time, and even in straightforward cases, discovery can take a long time. Obtaining statements and depositions can be difficult due to scheduling demands, as many states give people weeks to respond to requests. You should budget a few weeks or months for research.
This can be one of the most costly stages of a court-managed divorce since attorneys bill by the hour and spend the majority of their time working during discovery.
How to Respond to Inquiries About Divorce Discovery
Generally speaking, your interrogation responses should only address the question posed and be succinct, direct, and clear. Now is not the moment to present your entire defense or case to the opposing party. Make sure your responses are accurate and sincere by taking your time.
Adultery and the Discovery of a Divorce
Legally speaking, inquiries about “dating” and extramarital affairs are typically admissible during discovery (given the witnesses’ ability to claim witness privilege). Practically speaking, though, most juries and judges won’t give a damn about post-divorce dating if there’s no proof the affair continued past the parties’ separation date (which can be difficult to determine at times).
Questions and Answers ON How to Avoid Discovery in Divorce:
Why is legal discovery so crucial?
Making sure all relevant information about the dispute is available to both parties during discovery will enable them to make well-informed decisions during the trial process. With the aid of discovery, attorneys can better prepare their clients for trial and, if necessary, reach an out-of-court settlement.
What boundaries do discoveries have?
If a court order restricts it differently, the following is the extent of discovery: In proportion to the needs of the case, taking into account issues, controversy, access to information, resources, and benefits, parties may request nonprivileged discovery that is pertinent to their claims or defense. Even though it is not admissible in evidence, information falling within this scope is discoverable.
Which four components make up discovery?
Interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions, and depositions are the four main steps in the discovery procedure.