Anatomy of a Divorce Case: Phase 2: Gathering Information
Gathering information first is critical to receiving good advice from a lawyer. Most of us facing divorce want to understand the end result as soon as possible. But if this happens before all the information is gathered, it can lead to frustrations because attorneys may change their advise once they have all the information. Legal advice is based upon what the attorneys know at the time. The best advice comes after the information is gathered.
Phase 2: Gathering information
The process of investigating a court case is called discovery. In Illinois divorce cases, this starts with the exchange of Financial Affidavits, which are sworn statements about finances that are given to the other spouse with some documents. However, because Financial Affidavits essentially rely on a person being honest, the next part of investigating is drafting and sending formal requests for information and documentation. The questions help identify information that may not be on the Financial Affidavit. The documents help confirm accuracy and can lead to additional information. For example, if someone is spending money on a significant other their bank statements might show financial transfers to the significant other. If someone is hiding accounts, then often there will be transfers someone where in the recent past between the hidden account and disclosed accounts. When someone does not provide sufficient documents or the disclosures reveal additional information, subpoenas can be issued to third parties like banks, family members, or employers as part of this investigation process.
If you skip discovery, you may lose rights and opportunities because you did not know you had them. Spouses that are hiding information and assets will often want to engage in settlement to avoid the disclosure process. The only way to protect yourself fully is to complete the discovery process.
Come back next week for Phase 3 – Preparing for Trial. If you have children, see our separate series on the Anatomy of a Custody Case.
Please contact the Family Law attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. at 815-455-3000 to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss your divorce case.
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