What Discovery is and Why It is Important in Divorce and Custody Cases

If you are involved in a family law case in Utah, the divorce discovery process will play a role. You might be confronted with discovery requests. Alternatively, you might be the one who needs to use discovery. Therefore, discovery can be a complex process. The attorneys at Christensen Law, located in Salt Lake City, have experience in divorce, custody, and child support cases. They can help you satisfy discovery requirements or use discovery to help your case.

The information Christensen Law provides below is for general informational purposes only. However, for advice specific to your case, you should consult with an attorney.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is a process by which the parties to a lawsuit can gather information about the case. The information gathered will help the parties file motions or go to trial. There are various discovery methods and requirements.

In family law cases, the parties, as part of discovery, are automatically required to exchange financial information. The court provides a financial declaration form the parties fill out and to which they attach financial documents. On the financial declaration, parties disclose income, assets, debts, expenses, and other information.

In family law cases and all other civil cases, litigants can employ more generic discovery tools. Parties can submit written interrogatories to the opposing party. So, an interrogatory is a question that the opposing party must answer in writing. Parties can submit requests for admission, asking the other side to admit or deny facts that should be obvious. They can request that the other party produce copies of documents relevant to the case. So, parties can issue subpoenas to other parties or to banks, employers, and other institutions for records. Parties can depose (interview) other parties or potential witnesses to explore potential testimony at trial.

How is discovery useful?

Therefore, at a trial or in hearings, you need to present evidence or testimony and prove facts to prevail. In a lot of family cases, both parties already have facts and documents. But sometimes, they will not. Discovery can help you get the evidence and testimony you need to do well in court. Therefore, if you have an obligation to produce discovery, meeting your obligation is important. Thus, it can actually help you. With the facts at your fingertips, you can both make your best case or negotiate a good settlement.

At Christensen Law, we can help you with your discovery needs and obligations. So, good discovery requests and responses will help your case.