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Understanding Discovery in Your Divorce Case

Understanding Discovery in your Divorce Case


Discovery in your divorce case is the formal process that attorneys use to gather information that they need but do not have to resolve your case. Generally, discovery is gathered by both written requests for information and written requests for production of documents.


Discovery can be a very important part of your case, but you should approach this process with caution. In many cases, divorce attorneys simply send a blanket request for information and documents, often asking for things that you can obtain on your own, or information that is not relevant to your case. You should always have a conversation with your attorney about what information you actually need in your case before discovery is requested. Large discovery requests can be costly because your attorney and/or her staff will need to review all of the information that is provided.


There are two main ways that you can help your divorce lawyer in the discovery process. The first is to obtain all information that he or she needs in your case and to which you have access. There is simply no reason that you cannot obtain documents like bank statements, tax returns, investment statements, pay stubs, etc. Your attorney should only be requesting documents that you cannot obtain and that is relevant to your case.

The second way is for you to organize the information you provide to your divorce lawyer. This means documents should be placed in folders and tabbed for importance. When you provide disorganized information to your attorney, it takes additional time for her or her staff to review the documents, which translates to higher legal fees in your case.


The best way to get through the discovery process in your divorce is to start early. In your first meeting with your lawyer, she should be giving you a list of documents and information she will need in your case. Once formal discovery begins, you will get a formal list of information that is being requested. When you answer these requests early and accurately, it moves your case forward more quickly and helps to reduce your legal fees.

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