Collaborative divorce and informal discovery

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In traditional divorce proceedings, discovery can be a critical part of the divorce case. Discovery can entail all kinds of different discovery techniques.

Discovery can entail issuing interrogatories, requests for production or requests for admissions. In these discovery techniques, one party may request in simple terms answers to questions (interrogatories), for documents and evidence (requests for production) and for the opposing party to admit or deny facts (requests for admissions).

Discovery can also entail subpoenas being issued to third parties for information. The information can be financial based, but it also might be school records, medical records and other important information involving the children or the divorcing parties.

In many divorce proceedings, discovery also entails the taking of depositions. The depositions can involve depositions of the divorcing parties themselves where they testify under oath. It can also involve the depositions of various third parties with important information.

Obviously, discovery can end up being a hassle for many. It can also result in the divorce taking a significant amount of time for all this discovery to take place.

An advantage of collaborative divorce is that discovery is informal. In other words, when two parties are working together to settle their case outside of court, with their collaborative lawyers and team, they can enter agreements to exchange critical information informally.

If parties have answers to various questions, instead of a deposition, the parties are able to ask each other questions during collaborative meetings. While these meetings are not on the record, a lot of questions can be answered in a more expeditious, informal and less stressful matter.

This can ultimately save parties lots of time and hassle in terms of getting this critical information. It can also result in the proceedings being a lot less adversarial.

Obviously, for this to work, both parties have to be working above-board to exchange this information. If one party is not engaging in good faith negotiations, this process will ultimately not work.

But where parties are able to work together in the collaborative process in good faith, and in a transparent manner, the collaborative process can be helpful in that discovery can be informal versus formal.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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