May 12, 2020
Discovery Phase in Divorce: Complicated or Straightforward? Your choice.
The 1980 Pennsylvania Divorce Code revision established the no-fault divorce – no grounds required. It also established equitable distribution – guidelines for how the marital estate is divided. Equitable distribution simply means that all assets and liabilities acquired during a couple’s marriage are joint marital property. It does not matter whose name is on the asset. If either of the couple had assets or liabilities before their marriage, they should be accounted for as well. Pre-marital assets and liabilities become part of the marital estate after marriage, but there are significant exceptions to that rule. I’ll cover this subject in another post.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is a legal term referring to the fact-finding process in a divorce. Each person must disclose financial information and documents before any settlement is reached.
Discovery in Litigated Divorces can Initiate Confromtatio
In a litigated divorce, each attorney asks the ‘other’ side to list all assets and liabilities using a series of long, tedious questions, known as interrogatories. The questions are often identical making this exercise very time intensive and somewhat redundant. It also creates or fuels the notion that the other side might be hiding something. This merely adds to the adversarial situation and increases the time, energy, and cost, both financial and emotional for the each person.
Discovery in a Mediated Divorce can be a Straightforward Process
At the Alpha Center, our discovery process is straightforward. We ask our clients to participate in voluntary disclosure. We provide a checklist and ask them to send documentation of all assets and liabilities. Often, they can work together to locate and submit the financial and other documents without unnecessary difficulties. the material is then utilized to successfully divide their marital estate and reach a fair, financial settlement. For more information about our divorce mediation program, call 800-310-9085, or visit alpha-divorce.com.
Debbie Schneider, Esq. is an attorney-mediator with the Alpha Center for Divorce Medication. Click here for Debbie’s profile and to contact her.
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