Financial Discovery Summarized In A Divorce Case

Financial Disclosure is a tool used to locate and identify both marital and separate property for possible distribution in a divorce resolution. If a spouse believes that the other person is hiding assets, has wasted assets, has not properly valued assets then discovery and disclosure are the procedures used to flush out these issues.

Initially a Statement of Net Worth is utilized but often this document is not sufficient by itself. At the divorce Preliminary Conference a schedule will be prepared for the "demands" for disclosure and the "responses" to disclosure. The usual methods of this process include a request and response for document production, interrogatoires and depositions.

Document production is the method to have a party produce all of their records during a certain time period that relate to all financial accounts, debts, credit card statements, real estate, corporations, life insurance, business, expense accounts and any other similar financial paperwork. If the records are not produced or the person no longer has the records there is always the possiblity of using a subpoena to obtain the records directly from the financial institution.

Interrogatories are written questions that are prepared by the attorney and sent to the other attorney to be answered in writing under oath by the spouse. Many attorneys will send out very large amounts of interrogatories to make sure that they have not missed asking about any type of asset or liability. While the answers are written by the client, the attorney does review and may edit the response before sending the response to the requesting attorney.

Depositions are the process where both parties and their attorneys meet with a court reporter and the opposing attorney directly asks questions to the other party about financial matters. Depositions are useful when there are remaining questions that have not been answered by the document production or interrogatory responses. Often the depositions are used to pin down responses to questions as to who took money, what was it used for, where did it come from, how much is left and is there any proof that it is not a marital asset. Depositions are also an opportunity to see how well the other person does at answering questions in a formal setting. After the depositions are concluded the court reporter types and provides a verbatim transcript of all questions and answers. The transcript is exchanged, corrected if necessary and then signed. The transcript is very useful at a trial if the person changes their testimony from what they said at the deposition.

To read more about Depositions see the next blog that I will write.