Your Divorce Attorney Can Guide You Through The Discovery Process

October 30th, 2017

When there is a civil lawsuit, in both divorce and family law matters, each party involved has the ability to ask the other side for documents and information that may help them in their case.

This full disclosure of assets and liabilities is an important component for each side when it comes to negotiating a settlement. This disclosure is also necessary in cases where the parties cannot come to an agreement and the courts are left with the task of deciding the outcome.

This process is known as “discovery.” Ronald Johnston, your divorce attorney in Beaverton OR will guide you through the entire discovery process, which can feel both overwhelming and exhausting. In the state of Oregon, the most commonly requested information during this process is for you to produce documentation and give oral depositions.

What types of documentation can be requested during discovery?

During a civil suit, either side can request the production of documents in one of two ways, either through a statutory request or a Rule 43 request.

When a statutory request is used, the state divorce laws dictate that either party is allowed to request financial information including:

  • Tax returns
  • Income statements
  • Information about debts
  • Real estate documents
  • Retirement statements
  • Any other information regarding a person’s assets or liabilities

One important thing to remember about a statutory request is that when one side of a civil suit requests this information from the other side, the requesting party is also required to provide his or her own documentation.

In a Rule 43 request, as required by the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, one spouse is permitted to request the other side to produce any document that is relevant to any issue regarding the case at hand. This can include any document that might be linked to relevant evidence. Rule 43 is a comprehensive rule that can include just about every type of financial document.

Both Statutory and Rule 43 requests are very common when it comes to divorce proceedings, and they are also regularly used in child custody or child support cases between unmarried couples. Discovery requests are not an optional part of a case and compliance is required. If one side fails to produce the requested documentation, a judge could order the non-complying side to pay the other party’s attorney fees as a punishment.

What happens during the depositions of parties and witnesses?

Another part of a civil case is the dispositions of parties and witnesses. This process occurs when one spouse’s attorney requests that the other party or witness be questioned under oath. This will typically happen in an attorney’s office and not in the courtroom. During a deposition, the attorneys from both sides will be present, along with a court reporter to record and transcribe the proceeding for future use.

It is important to remember that pre-trial depositions are not a part of every divorce and they are not a requirement if both sides come to a settlement agreement after the discovery of documents.

Due to the fact that depositions are both time-consuming and expensive on both sides, parties may only want to use them if they are unable to gain the information they need to make a case on the documents alone. One example where a deposition is important is if one side believes that the other is hiding assets or withholding pertinent information that could sway the outcome of the case.

Your divorce attorney in Beaverton OR will help you through the discovery process and give you important information about the disclosing of documents and how to go about giving an oral deposition. This important pre-trial phase can in many cases lead to a settlement of issues, making a courtroom legal battle unnecessary.

The discovery process is an important part of obtaining a divorce, as intrusive and broad as it may seem. This process requires both sides to fully disclose their assets and liabilities, to ensure that a fair outcome is achieved. Complying in an honest and swift manner can help you move your case forward and hopefully lead to a settlement that you deserve.

Ronald Allen Johnston is backed with 40 years of experience in family law and is a known champion of rights for both mothers and fathers. He can not only educate you throughout the process but also be there to make sure that everything is done to get you the outcome you are looking for.

If you are entering into a divorce and want to discuss how the discovery process will affect you, contact Ronald Johnston Family Law today.

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