How to Avoid Discovery in Divorce

With the aid of divorce lawyers and mediation, many couples achieve divorce settlements and avoid going to trial. If your case goes to court, however, there is no way to avoid the discovery phase. If you are concerned about certain aspects of your personal life or finances being disclosed to your spouse or becoming public knowledge, there are steps you can take to try to avoid discovery.

What Is Discovery in a Divorce Case?

Discovery is an important legal process that is a part of every court trial. It is a length of time designated to allowing both parties involved in a case to exchange information. Both parties seek documents, evidence and unknown information from one another to better prepare for a trial.

Discovery often involves written questionnaires known as interrogatories and in-person interviews called depositions. It may also consist of requests or subpoenas for the production of documents, such as financial records.

Can You Avoid Discovery By Coming to a Settlement?

In general, settlements are preferred to going to trial in divorce cases. A divorce settlement is private, and both parties have control over its outcome. Both spouses can negotiate, with or without lawyers, until they agree on the major issues involved in the case, such as child custody, child support and property division. Settlements are faster, cheaper and generally less stressful than divorce trials.

With a settlement, discovery is generally not needed. Rather than an official exchange of information, both parties will communicate with each other in an effort to reach an amicable divorce agreement, otherwise known as an uncontested divorce. However, the courts in California still require both parties to submit financial disclosure forms with a full record of all assets, property and debts.

Once the financial disclosure forms are submitted, the attorney representing either party can investigate further, including hiring forensic experts, to make sure neither party is hiding or failing to disclose assets. If any information is missing from the disclosure forms, an attorney can file a notice to produce additional details or records.

Settling Your Differences Through ADR

Many couples in California who cannot work out their differences on their own turn to one or more types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to try to reach a divorce settlement agreement. Two popular types of ADR are mediation and arbitration. Mediation is more casual, with an unbiased third party known as a mediator present to facilitate conflict resolution but not to give orders or issue a judgment.

Arbitration is a more formal process and may be binding or nonbinding. With binding arbitration, the arbitrator has the power to make decisions and issue orders to the divorcing couple that they must obey. Nonbinding arbitration is similar to mediation, with the couple still in control of the outcome of a meeting. Resolving a divorce case through ADR can help a couple achieve a settlement and avoid discovery.

Improve Your Chances of Avoiding Discovery by Hiring an Attorney

The steps it will take to get divorced in California – and whether the discovery phase is one of them – will depend on factors such as your ability to communicate and compromise with your ex-spouse, the laws that apply to your case, and whether or not you hire a San diego divorce attorney.

To get legal assistance with your case and improve your odds of avoiding the discovery process, contact Boyd Law. Even if you cannot avoid discovery, your lawyer can help you protect certain types of information, shield your privacy and keep assets found in discovery. Call us at (619)-232-1206 to learn more.