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WHAT IS FINANCIAL DISCOVERY IN A DIVORCE CASE
April 14, 2018
What is discovery in a New York Divorce case?
One of the most feared part of a divorce case is the time-consuming task of what is called financial discovery where the parties must investigate each other’s assets to assess the economic issues pertaining to their divorce case.
This process is a court mandated procedure requiring that both parties voluntarily and honestly exchange financial documents so that both parties have a realistic portrayal of what assets are to be divided.
At the commencement of your action you will be expected to fill out what is called a net worth statement and sign and notarize it. This document will list your income, expenses, liabilities and assets and both parties will need to exchange it. In New York, you are also required to file a copy of that and your retainer agreement with the county clerk’s office If the marital estate is small and both parties know what is entailed this net worth statement can often times settle your case.
Financial disclosure and discovery becomes more important when there are more assets to divide and when valuation issues arise. Discovery entails the procedures involved in securing documents and information.
There are different vehicles used for financial discovery. These are called depositions, interrogatories, Notices of Discovery and Inspection and Notices to admit. There are also other such demands such as Demand for Expert Witness Lists, and subpoenas and more. This process begins once your divorce action is commenced or as soon thereafter as you are in court. In Manhattan divorces and in most divorce courts throughout the state of New York, as per the uniform rules, your trial court promulgates what is called a preliminary conference order that sets the state for deadlines for the exchange of financial documents.
Exchange of documents can occur up to and including the filing of the Note of Issue which is when you inform the court that all discovery has been completed.
If one party does not act in good faith and refuses to produce the documents you need to assess your financial issues then the attorneys are permitted to make an application to the court for court ordered discovery.
That said, discovery should not be overly broad or designed to harass the other spouse and measures may be taken to prevent that as well such as motions for a protective order.