A very common and routine part of any court case – including divorces – is what we call discovery. After the case is started, both sides have the opportunity to serve discovery requests on the other party. In divorce cases, the requests can be either “formal” or “informal.” In contrast to Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents (i.e. formal discovery), informal discovery is just a basic request in letter format which cuts to the chase of what the lawyer is seeking. Usually it includes requests for things such as pay stubs, tax returns, mortgage statements, credit card statement, retirement account statements, and other financial records. Informal discovery is generally preferred because it is quicker, easier, and cheaper to draft.
Sometimes people get offended if they are served with discovery requests. They feel like the case is more contested than it necessarily is because they have been asked to produce certain information. You shouldn’t feel this way. In order for lawyers to advise their clients, and formulate informed settlement proposals, they need to know basic information regarding income, assets, and debts. The best way to learn this information is by providing the underlying documentation. Otherwise, the lawyer is just “taking your word for it” regarding the existence of certain assets. Due diligence requires that this information be provided and exchanged.
In a divorce case, your life really is an open book. There is very little that you are not required to disclose. So, if you are asked to produce pay stubs and account statements by the opposing lawyer, do not perceive this as a threat. It’s just what we do in divorce cases. We exchange this information. It is difficult to settle a case when this information is not freely and willingly exchanged. To the contrary, it will appear that you have something to hide, which will only make the case more difficult to settle.
Relax. It’s just discovery.
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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.