One of the most important phases of litigation in a contested Utah divorce is the discovery process. The discovery process is the means of learning everything about the other side’s position and the evidence they would produce at trial. It is very important to thoroughly investigate the other party’s claims in a divorce including all financial matters, custody arguments, etc. The discovery process can be broken up into about three important elements which are all described below.
Financial Declaration and Initial Disclosures
At the beginning of every divorce, both parties are required to fill out a financial declaration disclosing all of their income, expenses, assets, debts, etc. Full financial declarations are provided to each side. The financial declaration is extremely important as the judge in your case will take into account the information provided in this form in determining financial matters such as alimony, child support, and division of assets. As your attorney, we ensure your financial declaration is properly executed and ensure the other side has fully disclosed all relevant financial information.
Similar to your financial declaration, you must also provide, and the other side must do the same, initial disclosures detailing relevant evidence you intend to introduce at trial. This includes any witnesses, documents, etc. that you intend to bring as evidence in support of your claims. This covers anything known at the time you make the disclosures. There are court imposed deadlines for when your initial disclosures are due so it is important to speak with your St. George Divorce Lawyer early about this process.
Written Discovery Requests
To learn more about the other party’s claims, your attorney can send written discovery requests to them requiring they provide certain documents, answer questions, and admit or deny certain allegations. These are generally called requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. Additionally, your lawyer can send subpoenas to any relevant party seeking any relevant piece of evidence. For instance, if you believe your spouse is hiding assets, subpoenas can be sent to accountants, banks, etc. to help find out more information about assets and related issues.
Written discovery requests are one of the most effective tools in your lawyers bag of tricks. Often these requests are battled between the attorneys because the potential impact a certain disclosures may cause. It is not uncommon for one side to object to a certain request and for the judge to have to intervene.
Finally, a very useful tool in the discovery process is the deposition. We can call the other party to appear out our office to answer questions on the record. We can cross examine them just like we would at trial. This allows us to discover what their anticipated testimony would be at trial. The deposition is recorded and the testimony given can be introduced as evidence at trial.
Help From Utah Divorce Lawyers
We know how to use the discovery process to your advantage, to give you the best possibility of resolving your divorce in your favor. Retaining one of our Utah Divorce Lawyers can make a big impact on your ability to discover all the necessary information about your soon to be ex’s case. Call us today for an analysis of your matter.