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What is Divorce Discovery and How Does it Work?


When you decide to file for divorce with a Naperville lawyer, there are a few common first steps you’ll take to get the process started. If you’re the spouse filing, you (along with your Naperville attorney, of course) will file your Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage. Soon after, discovery will take place – at least in most divorces it will.

Discovery can be as simple or long and tedious as both the spouses and law firms would like to make it. But what is discovery and what purpose does it serve? We discuss this and more below!

So, What is Discovery? 

Put simply, discovery is an exchange of documents that reveals each spouse’s debts, income, property ownership, and other financial and personal assets and liabilities. The purpose of discovery is to ensure that both spouses have been completely honest about all of their assets to ensure the equitable distribution of property and debts in the divorce process as well as the appropriate amount of maintenance and child support.

There are four types of discovery common to divorce and family law. Depending upon the extent of your assets and whether you believe your spouse is being honest in their disclosures, you may need to pursue a different form of discovery.

The Four Types of Discovery 

As you can imagine, paying your Naperville divorce attorney to perform extensive discovery can be quite expensive. As such, it’s important that you use the appropriate type of discovery wisely in your case and don’t request discovery just for the sake of doing so.

The four types of discovery include:

  1. Written Discovery – Written discovery includes marital interrogatories, among other processes. Interrogatories are written questions you submit to the opposing party (i.e. your spouse and his or her attorney, if he or she has one) to learn more information about them and the case. These questions must be answered truthfully and fully.
  2. Depositions – Depositions are oral testimonies that will be taken by both parties should it be necessary. Your attorney will depose your spouse and your spouse’s attorney will depose you. Depositions are recorded and transcripts are made available to attorneys so that they may officially use the information in the case. Often, questions during a deposition will attempt to clarify discrepancies in document production or learn more about certain assets and liabilities.
  3. Appraisements and Inventory – These two tools will typically list debts, assets, and other important information and, after being notarized or verified, can be filed with the court. You may want to list credit card debt, bank account values, or other information you deem relevant for the case.
  4. Subpoenas – Subpoenas allow you to request certain records from specific individuals and force them to produce the documents for trial or hearing, should that be necessary in your case.

In many cases, document exchange is limited to written discovery alone. However, if you have a high net worth divorce or are convinced your spouse may be hiding assets, you may need to take further steps in the process.

Is it Required to Undergo Discovery?

In short, no it isn’t.

You may choose to waive your right to discovery if you and your spouse cooperate and you don’t believe that there is any need for the process. This saves couples a significant amount of money in the divorce process.

If You’re Seeking a Divorce, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. Can Help 

With over 35 years of expertise serving couples and families in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall Counties, Lawrence R. Surinak is here to offer support, expertise, and guidance through your divorce process, discovery included.

If you have questions or would like to set up your free 30-minute consultation with Larry, contact us at 630-470-9990 or request your consultation online. We look forward to speaking with you about discovery and the other issues that matter in your divorce.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.