Discovery in Divorce in Chicago
At one point, every marriage was made of two people who were ready, willing, and able to make a lifelong commitment to each other. They were friends, they loved each other, and they were prepared to spend the rest of their lives together. And yet, in the course of their married lives, one or the other spouse may have experienced dissatisfaction, unhappiness, or even infidelity, leading them to make the difficult and life-changing decision to end their marriage.
The goal of the discovery process is to identify and define income, assets and liabilities of the parties, as well as any information that may be relevant to determining allocation of parenting time and decision-making. In other words, it’s an exchange of information designed to identify income, assets, debts, and information reagrding the children.
Discovery can be done formally or informally, depending on the level of contentiousness between the parties or the tone of the divorce process. In informal discovery processes, a simple email request may be followed with the handing over of relevant information. In more complex or emotionally charged situations, however, the formal process may be wise and/or necessary. These may include any one or all of the following:
- Document production – this is when the spouses request that each other provide all necessary and relevant documentation in support of his/her position with respect to the divorce, financial or economic status, and other relevant information.
- Interrogatories – these are written questions that are sent to the opposing party with a limited amount of time (usually 28 days) in which to respond.
- Depositions – these are statements made under oath by the parties in real-time question and answer environments. Depositions are recorded by a court reporter who takes down every word stated. Depositions may all be video-recorded. Attorneys for both parties are present for depositions.
- Subpoenas – these are document requests that are sent directly to an outside party having knowledge or information relevant to the case, such as a bank for bank account records.
- E-discovery – this refers to the practice of gaining information regarding the parties’ digital life and can include computer information, social media information, and cellphone information.
In this digital age, everything you say or do on social media may become evidence in your divorce. Even text messages, email, and facebook messenger can be subpoenaed and investigated. So, to be safe, it is best to keep sensitive information private. For example, if you are claiming financial hardship, posting photographs about your vacation to the tropics may disprove your claim of hardship. Essentialy, much like the rule about not putting anything out in public that you wouldn’t like your mom to see, keep in mind that such information may also persuade the Judge against you on issues in your divorce. Also, be mindful that erasing information once a divorce has begun may backfire as well as it could be seen as tampering with evidence and may, ultimately, be recovered anyway.
The path to resolution of a divorce case is complex and not one you should travel alone. Talk to Chicago divorce attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP at (312) 332-2915 and gain the benefit of our 25 years of experience.
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Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for
Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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