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What to know about discovery during divorce proceedings

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Divorce & Legal Separation |

When a divorce becomes contentious, a person may worry that the other spouse is hiding information. This concern is valid because a lack of evidence or details could result in an unfair decision.

One way that a person can ensure that the court does not miss reviewing key information is through the process of discovery.

The purpose of discovery

In divorce proceedings, discovery is the process where both parties exchange relevant information and documents. These could pertain to assets, income, liabilities, mental health conditions, a history of abuse and other pertinent matters.

The purpose is to ensure transparency and fairness. Each party can obtain the necessary information to make informed decisions and pursue a just resolution. The discovery process also helps prevent surprises during the trial and can encourage settlement negotiations by providing a clear understanding of each party’s circumstances.

3 methods for discovery

Among other rules of disclosure, Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 16.2, discusses three key methods for discovery requests:

  1. Requests for the production of documents involve one party asking the other to provide specific documents or tangible items relevant to the case. Common examples include financial records, contracts or correspondence. This method allows for the direct acquisition of relevant physical evidence.
  2. Depositions entail one party’s side questioning the other party or witnesses under oath, typically in a formal setting outside the courtroom. Depositions provide an opportunity to gather testimony and observe a person’s demeanor. Such details can aid in trial preparation and potentially uncover new information.
  3. Interrogatories consist of written questions that one party poses to the other to uncover factual information relevant to the case. The receiving party must respond in writing within a specified time frame, typically under oath. Interrogatories allow for detailed inquiries into specific issues and provide a structured format for obtaining information.

Discovery provides a clearer perspective into what the trial’s outcome could be and helps a person make informed decisions about how to proceed. Effectively using discovery could even lead to a quick settlement, making it a valuable tool when heading into a divorce.

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