July 30, 2021

What Happens During the Discovery Process in a Michigan Divorce?

If a Bloomfield Hills area resident is getting a divorce, they know that it is an incredibly stressful time. They also probably don’t have any idea what to expect during the divorce process. If a couple doesn’t agree to the major terms of a divorce, such as property division, child custody and spousal support, the divorce becomes a “contested divorce”. Discovery is an important part of a contested divorce in Michigan.

What is discovery?

During a Michigan divorce, discovery refers to when each party and their attorney gathers relevant information and evidence. The parties exchange this information that includes finances, child-related concerns and any other issues that are related to the divorce. Discovery can be informal where both parties voluntarily exchange information or in highly contested divorce situations, various legal tools are used to gather the information.

What to expect during the discovery process

When a party is reluctant to provide relevant information or has lied about information, formal discovery may become necessary. During this period a lawyer may use discovery tools such as:

  • Requests for documents. An attorney may request tax returns, bank statements, and other important documents.
  • Admissions of fact. This involves asking a spouse to confirm or deny certain statements under oath. One example would be asking a spouse if they were involved in an extramarital affair during the marriage.
  • These are open-ended questions about assets, sources of income, debts, and numerous other issues.
  • A deposition is a formal meeting where spouses give testimony under oath. The statements are recorded, and the spouse’s can be cross-examined by the other spouse’s attorney.
  • A subpoena may be necessary to compel a person to appear at a legal proceeding or provide necessary documents.

A legal professional who is skilled in family law can help a person who is facing a divorce. They can make sure their client understands the divorce process and will represent their best interests.