Divorce: The Discovery Process
In any divorce, there can be a huge exchange of documents. It is all part of the discovery process, and the intent is to ensure that both sides have any information pertinent to the division of assets, time sharing with the kids, and so forth. What can you expect, and how can you expedite things so your divorce runs smoothly?
1- You will be provided with a list of information that you are expected to share with the other side in your divorce. Be thorough in your sharing, and hopefully the other side will do the same.
2- Interrogatories will ask both parties to provide details related to banking, work history, education, trust funds, real estate holdings, vehicles, and so forth. Be absolutely straightforward and honest!
3- Sticky divorces may require a number of depositions involving family and friends, employers, and even teachers who may have information about your spouse’s habits and behaviors.
When the kids are in the middle of a conflict between you and your soon-to-be-ex.
Some situations require the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). If you have serious concerns about your partner’s ability to adequately care for your children, you may request that a GAL be appointed to represent the best interests of the kids. In some cases, the court will make such an appointment without any requests from parents. That could include in-depth investigations into any concerns you may have about the other parent. Sharing specific trepidations regarding our spouse can help to guide those investigations. Additionally, you may wish to consider the following:
1- Asking the GAL to recommend a temporary custody schedule giving you primary custody;
2- Requesting the GAL lead a meeting or discussion related to custody and visitation;
3- Requesting testimony—or at least interviews with the GAL– from counselors and others familiar with any issues involving the children.
Secondary to issues related to the children, property division is an important piece of any divorce. If there are specific items that you would like to keep, be sure to request them in writing. Especially in situations where one party has left the primary residence, it is possible to request an inspection of property. Beyond that, if you have concerns that your spouse may not be forthcoming with information about assets, you will want to hire a forensic accountant to trace financial holdings. Additionally, consider:
1- Having assets appraised in order to ascertain legitimate values;
2- Providing evidence that certain property was owned prior to the marriage.
Divorce can include a lot of people, documents, and headaches! At Courtney & Mills, our Springfield family attorneys are here to advise and support you throughout the process. To discuss your concerns, schedule a confidential consultation in our Springfield office today.