The Discovery Process

Discovery Process 3During a divorce, the discovery process includes the gathering of information from each party for the purpose of building a stronger case in court. The discovery process is especially important when contested issues or assets exist. Discovery takes a close look at each party’s economic, financial, and personal situations, including the extent of property ownership, debt, and income. 

If you are divorcing, VIP Divorce Discovery provides personalized service, including the professional advice and support you need when your best interests are at stake.

The Purpose of Discovery

The purpose of discovery is to gain information to evaluate the case for settlement and to prepare for trial. If the clients and their attorneys have effectively obtained discovery information from the opposing side, then they will be fully prepared to negotiate a settlement or try the case.  

By examining the information exchanged during discovery, a divorcing couple, their attorneys, and the court can determine how to fairly divide property and deal with divorce-related issues such as child support and alimony.

Discovery can occur through an informal exchange of information and documents by the parties and their attorneys, which is common, or the discovery process can follow more rigid procedures. If it is unknown exactly what assets or liabilities are involved or information about any other issue in the case, then written discovery is an effective way to get information and documents that are needed to analyze the case. Compilation of this information is key in ensuring that each party receives a fair property division.

If you are divorcing, VIP Divorce Discovery provides personalized service, including the professional advice and support you need when your best interests are at stake.

Required Discovery Documentation

All parties to any domestic relations case are required to deliver to the other party, within 45 days of being served a summons, copies of the following documents:

  • Financial statements
  • Federal and state income tax returns
  • Statements for prior years for all bank accounts
  • Most recent payment stubs
  • Documentation concerning the cost and nature of available health insurance coverage
  • Statements for prior years concerning securities, pensions, IRAs, and similar assets
  • Loan or mortgage applications submitted prior to filing
  • Financial statements and statements of assets and liabilities prepared by either party prior to filing

Note: Each party must provide to the other party all documents relating to these matters. In addition, the law requires that you provide current documents and information if any information changes.

Formal devices used in the discovery process:

What Discovery Offers

Discovery ProcessMany concerns, issues, and topics are revealed during the discovery process. In divorce cases, this is especially true if the case becomes contentious and emotional.

All parties must be honest with their attorneys regarding facts. The attorneys cannot perform their best in a court setting if their clients do not disclose everything. Nothing makes a position in a divorce case worse than lying during discovery and getting caught (such as covering hidden assets). It is likely that a party or both parties will get caught if they are purposefully dishonest.

Note: The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure provide the authority for lawyers in Texas cases (including divorce and other family law cases) to conduct written discovery. 

VIP Divorce Discovery can help both clients and their attorneys save time by assisting through the discovery process—from preparation of questions to information gathering to how to best answer the questions that will be presented in court.