Discovery is one of several phases in a divorce proceeding. However, it may not be used extensively in each divorce case. Still, it is wise to understand the concept so that you can prepare to work with your New Mexico family law attorney should discovery be a significant element of your divorce proceeding.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is a process used in civil actions, including divorce proceedings. During the discovery process, the parties gather information and evidence to prepare to negotiate a settlement and/or trial. Because discovery is a formal process, there are rules and procedures that each spouse must follow as they search for evidence they can use to quantify their incomes, assets, and liabilities.
Another important discovery goal in a divorce process is to ensure that both parties have the same information about the case. When both parties have the same information about their incomes, community assets and liabilities, and each party’s separate assets and liabilities, their negotiations can be more productive, regardless of if the case goes to court or not. The divorce settlement agreement will be fairer.
What is the Divorce Discovery Process?
During the divorce case, the attorneys for each party send discovery requests to the other party. There are several forms of discovery that each party may use to gather information and evidence. Common forms of discovery in divorce proceedings include, but are not limited to:
Interrogatories are a list of questions that the other party answers under oath. The questions may regard a person’s general background, education, career, assets, debts, income, and retirement accounts. Interrogatories can help identify if the other party has been hiding assets or other information from you.
Request For Production
The request for Production of Documents is as it states: One spouse requests documentation (typically financial) from the other spouse. Bank statements, property valuations, investment/retirement statements, paycheck stubs, w-2’s, and state and federal tax returns are typically requested.
Documents requested might also include financial statements, business formation documents, photographs, real estate appraisals, certified market valuations, and vehicle appraisals.
Depositions are sworn answers made by a party to questions asked by the opposing party’s attorney. They can be written requests, in-person questions, and answer sessions, or virtual. A court reporter places the person under oath and records the statements said during the deposition. The recording is transcribed into an official record of the deposition.
Attorneys may depose the other party, witnesses, experts, and other individuals associated with the divorce proceedings.
Requests for Admissions
Requests for Admissions is a list of questions that the other party responds to under oath. Acceptable responses are affirmed, denied, or insufficient information to either affirm or deny. Requests for Admissions are used to identify the issues that are not in dispute or those that are agreed upon by the parties.
A subpoena compels a party to appear at a deposition or in court to provide testimony. It also compels parties to make specific documents or information available. A deposition is a court order and might be required to make parties provide information and evidence related to the case.
Contact Our New Mexico Family Law Attorney for More Information
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your children during a divorce proceeding is to have sound legal advice. The sooner you obtain legal advice, the quicker you can take steps to protect your rights. Contact our office to discuss the divorce process and how you can achieve the outcome you desire from your divorce.