Reaching a fair divorce settlement or preparing a good divorce case for trial requires information about the marital finances. You will want to know how much money is available and where it is. The judge will also need to know this information in order to make good decisions in your case. If your spouse managed the marital finances during the marriage, you may not know this information. Alternatively, perhaps you jointly managed finances, but your spouse has all of the paperwork. Still yet, perhaps you suspect that your spouse has been hiding away money or assets.
If you lack information or documentation about the marital finances, discovery can help you. Through the discovery process, you can gather information about the marital finances. There are a number of avenues open to divorce litigants to request information. Receiving a request obligates the recipient to respond. If their response does not satisfy the requester, he or she can ask the court for help to get the information requested.
Whenever a family law case begins, the state automatically requires the parties to make financial disclosures. The financial disclosures involve a form where each party lists all assets, debts, expenses, and income. The legal system also expects parties to attach bank statements, loan applications,pay stubs, and tax returns to the declaration.
In family law cases or divorce cases, each party can ask the other party ten questions. One or more of these questions might focus on family finances. For example, a question could ask a party to explain the family finances.
Requests for Production
In addition to ten questions, each party may make ten requests for production. One spouse might ask the other to produce two years of bank or financial statements. Alternatively, there can be requests for employment documents, tax documents, or other property documents.
Some divorce litigants stubbornly refuse to provide information or otherwise attempt to cheat or game the system. In such situations, it is easier to go directly to the source. If it is known that an individual has an account with a certain bank or works for a certain employer, a subpoena can be issued directly to the bank or employer. A subpoena is a court order directing an individual to produce certain documents.