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Divorce and the Discovery Process

 Posted on May 25, 2017 in Divorce

Naperville divorce lawyersMost divorces in Illinois are begun by petition when one spouse files in the relevant circuit court. When this happens, the next step is usually the discovery process, which means asking each spouse to provide to the other information that may be relevant or important in terms of appropriately handling the case. Discovery can be confusing and may require a knowledgeable legal mind to help you decide how to best get through it.


While there are multiple methods by which discovery may be conducted, depositions are among the most common. Depositions are not unlike testifying in court, and indeed, you will almost certainly be under oath to be honest. During a deposition, you will be asked questions and you must provide accurate and complete answers. Depositions can be long, and there is a specific code of conduct in terms of how to get through them. Generally, however, if one shows up on time, tells the truth and makes no attempts to be deceptive in any way, things will go well.

It is important to remember that Illinois classifies depositions into two categories: discovery depositions and evidentiary depositions. Discovery depositions are relatively informal and are concerned almost exclusively with the witness’s personal life and their story of any relevant disputes to be decided in the divorce. They are taken for informational purposes and may be used to impeach a witness’s character later on if necessary. Evidentiary depositions, by comparison, are much more formal and can replace trial testimony itself in some cases. This type is most often used to get the testimony of an expert witness such as a doctor or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on the record instead of demanding they appear at multiple days of what may be a long trial.

Other Common Methods of Discovery

Discovery is about the exchange of information, and as such, it can be accomplished in many other ways besides depositions. Written interrogatories are perhaps the next most often used because a party or interested witness can complete them on his or her own time, instead of requiring a long and time-consuming legal process as would a deposition. They do have a time limit—28 days is customary in most Illinois divorces—but within that timeframe, a person may put them off as long as he or she wishes. This can be helpful for the purposes of location documents or information.

Other discovery tools are somewhat more formulaic and require less active intervention. One example is a request for admission of facts or documents, which are filings that ask the opposing party to admit or deny a certain relevant fact regarding the divorce or asset distribution. For example, a wife may ask her husband to admit that he engaged in the dissipation of marital assets. Another type that you may see is a subpoena duces tecum, which can help you get records if your spouse is not cooperative or does not have access to the records you need. Any of these methods may be used under Illinois law to help you prepare for a trial.

Contact a Divorce Attorney

While discovery is often a necessary part of divorce proceedings, it can sometimes be overwhelming for the average person. Contact an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer to get the guidance you need throughout the process. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today.


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