Discovery is the legal process by which parties to a divorce (or any type of lawsuit) exchange information about issues related to the case. The discovery process ensures that each side is completely aware of all assets, debts, and other important information that might have a bearing on the outcome of the case. The information gained through discovery also is crucial to adequately prepare for court hearings, negotiations, mediations, and trials that may occur during your divorce case.
In a divorce case, discovery often focuses on the exchange of financial documents, including the following:
• Retirement account statements
• Investment plan statements
• Insurance policies
• Mortgage statements
• Appraisals of real estate and personal property
• Credit card account statements
• Vehicle loan statements
• Student loan statements
However, discovery also can involve items related to child custody and visitation, such as the following:
• Counseling records
• Medical records
• Criminal records
• Child custody evaluations
• Guardian ad litem reports
• School records
There are a number of different discovery tools, depending on your needs. You may have to answer interrogatories, which are written questions that you answer in writing and under oath. Request for products of documents asks you to produce financial and other documents related to issues in your divorce. Requests for admissions ask you to admit or deny certain statements in writing and under oath. In a deposition, you will answer questions from your spouse’s lawyer under oath. During a deposition, you are normally accompanied by your attorney, and your spouse appears with his or her attorney. A court reporter also is present to record the deposition and later transcribe it into written form, if requested. Finally, a party may send subpoenas or require you to complete release of information forms to get information from third parties, such as bank statements, medical records, or counseling records.
Discovery is only one of the many different aspects of Washington divorce proceedings. Pacific Northwest Family Law knows how to handle all of the different issues that Washington divorce cases involve, including issues related to both children and property. We understand how emotional and stressful these types of cases can be, which is why we are here to help guide you through your divorce proceedings. Contact our offices today to set up an appointment with one of our Washington divorce lawyers and see what we can do to help with your case.