One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to planning for divorce is to oversimplify the process. They might think it will be like getting married: sign some paperwork, make a statement and your legal status is changed. However, there are many reasons why divorce is more complicated, including the process of dividing marital property.
Every couple will have to divide property and debts in a divorce. In order to divide everything, parties will go through discovery. Below, we briefly explain what happens during discovery and why it can become so complicated.
- You exchange information. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will exchange information relevant to your divorce. This includes financial document to aid in property division discussions, but it can also include personal information about the other person. Evidence of infidelity, parenting shortfalls and even criminal activity can all come out in discovery as both parties collect and share whatever information they can to help their case.
- You investigate questionable statements. If there are concerns about the validity or accuracy of information presented during discovery, it may be necessary to investigate the claims further. For instance, if you think your ex is withholding financial information, you might have a forensic accountant look into claims of hidden assets.
- You can be deposed. Depositions involve answering questions from attorneys under oath. These statements must be truthful and can be used in court should you be unable to resolve your divorce matters through mediation.
Discovery should help both parties gain a solid understanding of the facts of the case. Then, utilizing this information, you can proceed with negotiations and arguments to resolve the divorce.
Considering everything that can come out in discovery, the process can spark bitter disputes. People can be caught lying; they could give wrong answers in a deposition; they might get upset if the other person accuses them of certain flaws or misconduct. Each of these disputes can turn an otherwise amicable divorce contentious.
In order to prepare for these potential issues and sidestep any behaviors that could come back to haunt you in discovery, you can discuss your case with an attorney.