Discovery process ensures honesty in divorce settlements

Texas divorce courts require both parties to disclose information about their respective finances and economic condition. Sharing such information enables the court and both parties to fully assess the respective financial situations of each spouse and reach a more equitable division of financial assets and real property. It also helps to determine potential financial support for one spouse if needed. The following are three types of discovery information required by family law.

Document production

Each spouse needs to provide documentation of assets, finances, income and other information to the other party. Specific requests for documentation need to be taken seriously and fulfilled whenever possible. The documentation helps to determine possible property division, spousal support and child support when applicable.

Written responses

Either party can submit interrogatories that require written responses from the other. Questions range from the very broad, such describing a relationship with a child, to very specific, such as the annual taxable income a spouse claims to earn or otherwise obtain. The spouse receiving the queries can challenge and refuse to answer questions that are objectionable, unfair or confusing in nature. An explanation of the refusal must be provided to avoid penalties for refusing to answer questions posed.

Sworn deposition

A spouse also might be sworn in and deposed by the opposing attorney with a court reporter recording everything spoken during the deposition. Depositions have no limit on the amount of time required to complete them and could become an ongoing process lasting several days. Most are much shorter and are completed in a single setting.

Honesty prevails in discovery proceedings

The discovery process generally goes best when both parties are honest, provide all relevant documentation and answer honestly to various legal queries. A divorce is usually a very emotional event, and virtually all dirty laundry sees the light of day during the legal proceedings. Any attempts to lie or hide things typically backfire and can lead to judges ruling against an offending spouse.

There are many aspects of the legal system to navigate when divorcing a spouse. An experienced family law attorney may help make the discovery process and other aspects of the divorce go more smoothly.

FindLaw Network
Heidi L. Heinrich
Rated by Super Lawyers


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