Even though your marriage is personal, it stems from a legally binding contract between you, your spouse and the state. Consequently, if you want to end your marriage, you must file a lawsuit or respond to one. Just like many other civil cases, your divorce proceeding is likely to involve discovery.
Discovery typically happens before a divorce goes to trial. During the pre-trial phase, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse exchange information to give each side what it needs either to negotiate a settlement or to proceed to trial. Discovery also gives the judge all relevant facts so he or she can rule fairly if necessary.
How long does discovery take?
Depending on how much information each side requests, discovery may proceed quickly or slowly. If either side objects to discovery requests, the process also may drag on for months or longer. Regardless, you and your spouse should consider the expense of discovery when planning your divorce budget.
How do you obtain information?
Divorce attorneys have a variety of options for obtaining information. These include written interrogatories, subpoenas, depositions and requests for admissions. Even if your attorneys do not exercise all available options, your husband’s or wife’s may. Therefore, whether you ultimately turn them over, you should plan to gather relevant documents.
What information can you discover?
If you suspect your spouse may be hiding assets, the discovery process may help you find them. You may also use the discovery process to find out about your spouse’s bad behaviors. While Illinois has abolished fault-based divorce, fault still may play a role in child custody matters.
Even if you intend to have a cooperative or amicable divorce, there is a good chance you may have to deal with discovery. Ultimately, it is critical to comply with discovery-related procedures and deadlines to keep from harming your divorce case.