If you are divorcing in Texas after a long-term marriage, you likely have shared savings, debts, and retirement accounts that need to be properly assessed and equitably divided. In this scenario, there’s a big chance that your case will involve “discovery.” Discovery is a legal tool that offers each spouse an opportunity to propound questions and request documents for the purpose of accurately assessing the community estate.
There are four basic components to the discovery process:
- Disclosures (asks about the theory of the case, potential witnesses, and experts)
- Production (asks for specific documents)
- Interrogatories (asks specific questions of the party)
- Admissions (seeks answers to fact-specific and personal questions)
Discovery is a lengthy and costly process; however, in most cases, there is no way around it, especially if the “non-earning party” has been in the dark regarding the estate. That said, there are things each party can do to cut down on the cost and time involved in the discovery process.
Your first step is to gather up the necessary financial documents as quickly as possible. Fortunately, you can usually download several years’ worth of bank statements instantly, and it shouldn’t be difficult to request other critical documents from your bank. This method also holds true for credit card statements. You also need to contact your human resources department to obtain your updated retirement information. Another way to get the ball rolling is to ask your accountant for copies of past tax returns, both personal and business-related.
You need to provide these documents to your attorney as soon as possible. Your divorce case involves several legal deadlines, and your lawyer needs time to prepare each document and respond to requests. If both sides are diligent in gathering documents, answering questions, and turning over evidence that can be used in trial, they may be able to settle the case outside of court with the help of a mediator and their attorneys. Of course, there are cases where one spouse is less than forthcoming about their financial assets. If the request is “reasonable,” the court will usually order the non-cooperative party to turn over the documentation.
Explore Your Legal Rights & Options with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Contact Kutty Law Firm, PLLC if you require legal guidance and representation during your divorce. Our compassionate divorce attorney has over two decades of family law experience and a comprehensive understanding of the legal challenges associated with this emotionally-charged process. Because our client-driven firm handles a variety of family law matters, including child support and marital agreements, you can rest easy knowing your case is in capable and confident hands. We can help you negotiate a reasonable marital separation agreement that covers property and asset division, custody and parenting responsibilities, and other matters specific to your case.
Contact Kutty Law Firm, PLLC at (713) 955-7477 if you have questions about discovery or are preparing to file for divorce. We represent clients in the Houston area from our office in Sugar Land.