Once your Colorado divorce begins, you may wonder what to expect in the coming months. After mentioning the term “discovery,” you might wonder, “What is discovery in a divorce?” The experienced and compassionate Colorado family lawyers at Colorado Divorce Law Group assists individuals going through divorce and with all aspects of the discovery process. You can learn more by calling one of the firm’s knowledgeable divorce lawyers at (720) 593-6442.
Discovery is the formal process of requesting and providing information in a pending case. Discovery is common in family law cases, including those involving divorce, child custody, or child support.
Each spouse is legally obligated to provide information that is requested by the other spouse when the requests comply with Colorado law. Discovery allows parties involved in litigation to obtain evidence that will be admissible in court.
Discovery is a tool that is used when a party involved in litigation believes that they need more information about their case and that the other side can provide such information. Some common reasons for completing discovery in a divorce case include:
The discovery process involves asking questions or requesting information from the other side about anything relevant to the divorce. For example, a spouse may ask for:
Discovery requests may be directed toward the other spouse or another party. For example, a bank may receive a subpoena requesting that it provide information about an account the other spouse holds. A counselor who counsels the couple’s minor child may receive a subpoena to appear for a deposition and provide testimony.
Spouses do not have to request discovery in a case. They can voluntarily agree to share information or proceed with the divorce without making these requests. However, if the other spouse requests discovery from them, the spouse must respond to these requests.
The three most common types of discovery requests in Colorado divorce cases are:
Interrogatories are a set of written questions that the other side must answer under oath. These are governed by Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 33. Pattern interrogatories consist of 13 basic questions, all but one of which relate to the couple’s finances. These are standard questions that are provided by the rule and most often requested during a divorce case. A spouse can also request 10 additional non-pattern interrogatories pertaining to information that is specific to this individual couple’s divorce. The spouse who receives the interrogatories has 35 days to respond to them.
Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 34, governs requests for the production of various documents that are relevant to the case. Pattern requests for production of documents include nine basic requests regarding financial information, including requests to provide bank and credit card statements. The spouse requesting the production of documents can request 10 additional items beyond the nine pattern requests. The spouse who receives the requests has 35 days to produce them.
Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 16.2, sets out the various rules regarding discovery requests in a civil trial. This rule specifically provides for depositions, which are recorded interviews with the parties or witnesses who may be called at trial. During a deposition, your lawyer can ask your spouse questions about matters such as:
Depositions usually occur at lawyer’s offices. A court reporter creates a record of the deposition and administers an oath to the person being deposed. Some depositions are videorecorded. The testimony created during a deposition may be offered during trial.
A deposition also gives the lawyer a better idea about how a certain party or witness may present at trial.
Discovery provides a preview into what trial may involve. It also helps you to obtain the information you need to make informed decision about your divorce. For these reasons, it is common for many cases to settle after discovery. If the case does not settle at this point, it will continue toward trial.
A knowledgeable Colorado divorce lawyer can answer questions you have, like “What is discovery in a divorce?” and “Do I have to provide the information my spouse requested?” Additionally, your lawyer can help you prepare your responses and make objections to requests when appropriate. The family lawyers at Colorado Divorce Law Group can help you navigate this process.
If you would like a better idea about what is discovery in a divorce, consider contacting our legal team at Colorado Divorce Law Group today at (720) 593-6442.