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The Discovery Phase of the Divorce Process

The discovery phase is the time when both spouses and their respective lawyers if they have retained one, will negotiate the terms of a divorce. It is at this point where the two parties will or will not agree to the terms that have been laid out or if the case should be brought to court.

One of the reasons why cases often stall during the discovery phase and must be taken to court is due to issues where both spouses have interests at stake, such as property division. There is a great deal of information that either spouse must bring forward.

What information will I need to provide for the discovery?

There are cases where one or another spouse does not have access to other’s information. In property division cases, for example, one spouse may have been given an inheritance or a gift, and the other spouse does not have access to it. In a child support or custody case, where one spouse will need to provide proof of income or tax information.

In some cases, when there is not enough information available or if both spouses have a relatively amicable proceeding, then attorneys may only need to gather information when needed. On the other hand, in very contentious or complex court cases, one spouse may choose to serve the other with a “discovery request” to obtain any necessary information.

What will be resolved during discovery?

Whatever is stated or found in the discovery phase can be used during trial. Ultimately, this is the time that both sides look at the facts and decide how best to settle the terms that are satisfactory to both parties. If you have been served with a discovery request, you may have up to 30 days to respond to the request. If you are having difficulty producing the information that has been requested, we advise you to speak with a South Florida divorce attorney to help you form an objection.

One more thing you must understand about the discovery phase that many facts will be laid out during that time. Be honest with your lawyer about all of the details; our job is to do our best to protect you. Also, it is likely that there may not be much resolved during this phase—but the information that does come up may be helpful in resolving your case in another phase.

Have more questions or need to talk to an attorney about a divorce case? Contact Hager, Schwartz & Ross, P.A. today for a free consultation!