There are different areas of the Illinois divorce process that can have a significant impact on how a divorce turns out. One of those areas is discovery. Discovery is the process that is used to help both sides gather evidence to ensure that both spouses have the same financial information in order to be in a better position to negotiate a fair divorce settlement.
Discovery is considered a legal process and there are rules that both parties are required to follow, both in the gathering of evidence and the supplying of evidence that is requested. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in sanctions from the court. The following is a brief overview of some of the tools your attorney or your spouse’s attorney may use during the divorce.
As part of the discovery process, attorneys may send the other side a set of interrogatories. These documents are a list of questions that the other side is required to respond to under oath. Generally, these questions are about the spouse’s background and often include questions about their education and work history. There are also often questions about any income, financial accounts, assets, and debts the spouse may have. The goal of interrogatories is to determine whether or not the spouse is hiding assets in order to avoid including them in the marital estate and equitable distribution.
Each spouse can file a Notice to Produce for the other spouse. This is where one party requests the other party to send copies of certain documentation they have listed on the notice. Examples of documentation include pay stubs, income tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, bank statements, stock portfolio balances, retirement account statements, property deeds, vehicle titles, and property valuations.
If a spouse owns a business, then the notice may also include requests for financial documentation about the business, such as accounts receivable, inventory, business formation documents, and any other financial statements.
At some point after interrogatories and Notice to Produce actions have been completed, one or both parties may decide to depose the other. Depositions can be done in writing or they can be done in person (or virtually). In the deposition, the spouse is asked questions by the other spouse’s attorney. All questions are answered under oath. Other witnesses may also be deposed under oath. All in-person depositions are conducted with a court reporter recording the entire testimony and are later transcribed and entered into evidence for the divorce.
Not all divorces get to this point. If you and your spouse are engaged in a “friendly” divorce and are negotiating a fair settlement, your attorneys will unlikely need to get to this point.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer
If you have decided to end your marriage, you may be facing decisions about child custody, division of assets, alimony, and more. Regardless of the status of the relationship with your spouse, even in a friendly divorce, you should have a dedicated DuPage County divorce attorney looking out for your best interests. Call Andrew Cores Family Law Group at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.