What is Discovery During A Divorce

August 30, 2023

What Is Discovery?


During a divorce, lawyers from both sides will use discovery to find out as much as possible about assets and liabilities. It may include bank statements, credit card statements, account balances, and other financial information. Witnesses may also be called upon in order to provide testimony or evidence regarding any issue related to a case. This helps ensure that all relevant facts are known so that both parties can make informed decisions about property division and other matters related to their divorce case. If there are children involved, then there are questions about the children, such as medical information, parenting styles, what type of rooms they will sleep in, etc.


The Illinois Supreme Court Rules

In Illinois, there are specific rules governing the discovery process in divorce cases. According to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, parties involved in a divorce must exchange certain information with each other prior to trial. This includes financial disclosure (bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns), documents related to assets and liabilities, as well as any other relevant information pertaining to the case. Each party also has an obligation to identify who can provide testimony on their behalf at trial (witnesses). All of this falls under the umbrella term of “discovery.” Rule 213 outlines procedures for exchanging basic financial information between spouses before trial starts which includes monthly expenses, sources of income and other pertinent financial information relevant to your case. This rule also requires that each party produce documents related to their respective financial situations at least 45 days prior to trial start date – this gives ample time for review by each attorney before going forward with court proceedings such as hearings or mediation sessions etc…


Why Can’t My Lawyer Just Do It For Me?

You may be wondering why you can’t just let your attorney handle all of the discovery-related tasks for you. After all, isn’t that what you’re paying them for? While attorneys are certainly there to help guide their clients through this process – it is your information, not the lawyer’s answers. By law, you are responsible for providing accurate information regarding your finances during a divorce proceeding; however your attorney will help guide you through the process of what gets disclosed.


Why Does it have to be Done in most Cases? Here are some, but not all, of the reasons you might have to

  • To ensure that both parties have the same information about the case. This helps to prevent surprises at trial and allows both parties to have a fair opportunity to present their case.
  • To uncover hidden assets or liabilities. Sometimes, one party may try to hide assets or liabilities in order to get a better outcome in the divorce. Discovery can help to uncover these hidden assets or liabilities.
  • To resolve disputed issues. Discovery can help to resolve disputed issues in the divorce, such as the value of assets or the amount of alimony.
  • To prepare for trial. Discovery can help the parties’ attorneys to prepare for trial by gathering evidence and identifying witnesses.


Do I have to do it?

That answer is complicated. Discovery is the process of gathering information. If your divorce is contested, the answer is yes. There are severe sanctions if you do not, and moreover, it helps your attorney represent you the best. But if you agree on everything, then the answer can be no. In my cases, its pretty uncommon for me to do it because information is exchanged informally, without the need to go through the process. If you exchange this information without involving the court until the last step, you can avoid the discovery process if you can settle.


If you would rather negotiate and settle with your soon-to-be-ex, then I can help you through the process. I have ways of making sure everyone has knoweldge so that I can help you craft a good settlement. Reach out to my office through my website or call me.