Discovery in Divorce Proceedings
In Illinois, discovery is common in most divorce cases. It usually occurs after a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, but before any serious settlement discussions commence. While most courts require the parties to exchange Financial Affidavits, formal discovery is a more thorough and time consuming process that consists of two main components: written discovery and oral discovery.
Written discovery most often consists of serving and answering marital interrogatories and serving and answering requests for production of documents. Marital Interrogatories are a series of questions, mostly involving finances and property ownership, which must be answered within twenty eight (28) days of being served with them. These interrogatories must be signed or certified with an attestation page or an affidavit swearing to the truth of the written answers. Requests for production of documents require a party to produce a number of documents in their possession. These requests usually include paycheck stubs, bank account statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements, and documents related to property ownership.
Oral discovery most often consists of the taking of depositions. This requires both attorneys to be present in front of a court reporter, where questions must be answered under oath. The party being deposed is required to tell the truth, and their answers can be used against them at a future trial for impeachment purposes if they give an answer at trial that differs from their answer at the deposition. Depositions are long and costly, but are a great way to figure out what a party (or another witness) is likely to testify to at trial.
Discovery is common in divorce cases in Illinois, however it can still be stressful for the parties involved. The divorce and family law lawyers at The Law Offices of Robert F. Kramer, Ltd. can help you navigate through the discovery process. Our attorneys are available to meet either in person at our Lombard or Plainfield offices or on the phone at any time.
For more information about discovery rules and procedure in Illinois, please see the Illinois Supreme Court Rules regarding discovery, which can be found here.