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What is the purpose of the discovery process in a divorce?

In a marriage, it is not uncommon for one partner to handle the majority of the finances. This leaves one spouse with little access or knowledge over what is actually going on with assets and bank accounts. This can be a problem when it comes time to divide property and funds during the divorce.

While you would hope that your former partner would be upfront about your financial worth as a couple, there are some situations where a spouse may hide assets. If you suspect this may be the case, a discovery process may be appropriate.

What it discovers

There are many ways that a husband or wife can keep assets away from a spouse. One way is by funneling money to a separate account, such as a set percentage of a bi-monthly paycheck. Sometimes, a person may try to create fake debt payments that he or she can later recollect.

Another common way to keep a hidden asset in the shadows is to transfer it to a third party. A friend or family member may receive money as a falsified loan, and once you finalize the divorce, he or she may have the borrower give it right back.

With a discovery, your attorney can help you uncover these disguised assets. This way, you will have access to your fair share of the joint property.

How it works

A divorce discovery forces your spouse to provide extra documentation of any loans or payments that seem suspicious. He or she also must submit to further investigation of tax information and other paperwork to uncover an accurate profile of your finances.

In some cases, your spouse may even participate in a deposition. This includes a series of questions that puts your ex under oath. This may provide better motivation to be honest about any hidden assets.

If you feel uninformed about your finances going into the divorce, it may be worth it to take this step. Even an amicable breakup can prompt a spouse to hide information if he or she believes it is possible to get away with it.

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