Divorce process: Exchange of Documents, Information and Evidence

After that the spouses sent the initial documents to begin the process of divorce (petition for divorce/dissolution and the response to the request), exchange information related to their respective financial situations, economic, and personal; including the extension of their property, of their debts, and income.The exchange of this information is known as the process of “discovery” (“discovery”).

By examining the information exchanged before the filing of the divorce process, the couple, their attorneys, and the court can begin to decide how to divide the property fairly, and how to handle issues such as child support and spousal support (pension).

The “discovery” can be done by means of an informal exchange of information and documents by the interested party and their attorneys (common in divorce cases), or the process can follow a number of procedures more rigid. Below is a discussion of the different formalities that are used in the exchange of information and evidence.

Production of documents

In the “production of documents” both spouses provide all documents related to the divorce, the marriage, their separate property, income, etc, Any of the parties have the right to see most documents that even not considered related to the divorce, as well as issues related to, for example: the division of property, finances, debt, custody and visitation of the children, or spousal support (pension).

Interrogatories and request for admission

Interrogatories are questionnaires that request the version of the other spouse on the facts and the support to the demands. These questions can be found in interrogations already printed or written in a specific way; these questionnaires are called “interrogatories special.” The questions can be open-ended (“Describe your current relationship with your children”) or specific (“Is it your position that the taxable income of your spouse during 2004 were $45,000?”). If the questions asked are not fair or are difficult to understand, your lawyer can help you decide which ones to answer and which ones you should object.

“Requests for admission” are not often used in divorce cases, but can be powerful tools. Requests for admission ask a party to admit or deny certain facts relevant to the divorce, and carry penalties for not answering questions, answering falsely, or even answering late.

Stools

Depositions are statements under oath in which a person responds to the questions of a lawyer and a court reporter transcribes everything that is said. The stool can last from an hour up to a week, or more. Although all attorneys have their own strategies for depositions, there are two basic reasons to use them: to see what has the counterpart, and to make a “test of judgment”, that is, to see how the witness will appear and behave before the judge and the members of the jury.

If you are a participant, your lawyer will tell you what you want of you; but there are two important points to remember: first, never guess. The purpose of a deposition is to provide facts, not to speculate about what might have happened or on what should be the correct answer. Even if you feel charges of conscience to say that, sometimes, “I don’t know” is the right answer. Second, it is only human to want to explain things so that their interlocutor will understand, but you must resist this impulse. It is the job of your opponent to get the answers. Your work is to answer only the question asked and not offer extra information.

Points that you must remember about the exchange of information and evidence

  • Keep in mind that something, or everything, is going to come to light in the process of exchange of information. In cases of divorce, this is especially true if the case is very controversial or if they raise the emotions.
  • It is imperative that you be honest with your lawyer about the facts or documents that could arise. He or she will not be able to do your job well if you don’t sample all that is available.
  • Be honest(to). Nothing will leave you in a worse position during your divorce, that lie in the exchange of information and being discovered (e.g. About properties hidden, etc); and with probability it will be discovered if it is dishonest on purpose.