What is Discovery in Divorce and What Is Its Role in the Process?

What is financial discovery in divorce

By Catherine Shanahan, CDFA and Karen Chellew, co-Founders, My Divorce Solution

The divorce process can be an overwhelming and uncertain journey. It’s a path filled with fear and trepidation, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. Without prior knowledge or guidance, it’s easy to feel lost and unsure about the direction you should take. One aspect that is crucial to understand in a divorce is financial discovery.  What is discovery in divorce? It’s a step that plays a pivotal role in the divorce process.

In the world of divorce, knowledge is power. One of the most critical aspects of this process is explaining the available options to clients right from the beginning. Whether it’s the route of litigation, mediation, collaborative law, or arbitration (depending on your state’s practices), educating yourself about these options is essential.

Not every divorce case needs to end up in litigation, and not every case should. However, if you are unaware of your options, you may find yourself embroiled in costly, messy, and contested litigation down the road.

One might wonder if it’s possible to predict whether a divorce case will turn into a full-blown litigation. The answer, according to experienced legal professionals, is yes. A crucial part of their role is setting and managing client expectations. In many cases, it’s possible to gauge the likelihood of litigation within the first 15 minutes of a substantive conversation.

For straightforward issues that don’t warrant litigation, there are alternatives like mediation, collaborative law, or negotiations. However, in cases involving complex financial matters, such as business ownership or intricate asset distribution, litigation might be on the horizon. Having legal guidance that can provide early insights into the likely path a case will take can be invaluable.

Complex financial matters often drive divorces toward litigation. This is often due to one party’s lack of understanding of the complexities surrounding assets. When one spouse lacks financial knowledge or feels that the other is hiding assets, trust issues can derail the process. This is where the importance of financial discovery becomes evident.

By educating both parties about the financial aspects of the divorce, cases can often be resolved more smoothly. When clients are empowered with financial knowledge and have trust in the process, it becomes easier to reach fair settlements. Understanding complex assets can help prevent unnecessary litigation.


What is discovery in divorce?


Discovery in divorce is about exchanging financial information. It involves sharing documents like bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial records. Additionally, it may require working with professionals to complete financial forms and statements accurately.

The primary goal of the discovery process is to ensure that both parties have a complete and accurate understanding of each other’s financial situations. It’s about filling in any gaps or missing information, ensuring transparency, and setting the stage for fair negotiations or settlements.

Delaying or avoiding the discovery process can lead to what legal professionals refer to as “divorce limbo.” This is an uncomfortable phase where a divorce is ongoing, but the financial aspects are not being addressed. To avoid this, it’s vital for both parties to be proactive and participate actively in the discovery process.

The high cost of the discovery process is a significant concern in divorce cases. It includes activities like requests for production of documents, depositions, and subpoenas. The more contentious the divorce and the less cooperation between spouses, the higher the legal fees for both parties.


My Divorce Solution


While the discovery process is necessary when one or both spouses are uncooperative or withholding information, there are alternative approaches. Mediation is gaining popularity as a less adversarial way to navigate divorce. In mediation, both parties work with a neutral mediator to reach agreements amicably. Another option is working with My Divorce Solution to have a customized financial portrait created for you to give you financial clarity.

Imagine the savings if both parties and their divorce team agreed to work with the same financial blueprint that collects financial information, assesses components of the entire marital estate, interprets those components into language that everyone can understand, and presents a framework that enables parties to compromise with clarity. How much money could be saved by not engaging in the discovery process? Tens of thousands of dollars is not an unreasonable estimate, particularly for cases involving complex assets and financial structures.

Armed with the wisdom of financial discovery, the guidance of experienced professionals, and a proactive approach, you can transform this journey into an opportunity for personal growth and a brighter, more informed future. Remember, the power to navigate this complex terrain lies within you, waiting to be harnessed.

To learn more about working with My Divorce Solution, visit mydivorcesolution.com, where you can access valuable resources and connect with professionals dedicated to helping you on your path to a more empowered and fulfilling post-divorce life.

Divorce is an emotionally charged journey, but it can also be an empowering one when approached with knowledge and preparation. Financial discovery is a pivotal phase that can lead to smoother negotiations and settlements. By actively participating, setting clear goals, and being organized from the outset, clients can navigate this challenging terrain more effectively. With the right guidance and understanding, divorce can be a step toward a brighter, more informed future.


Catherine Shanahan and Karen Chellew, Co-Founders, My Divorce Solution


Catherine Shanahan and Karen Chellew are on a mission to change the way people get divorced. The company they built together, My Divorce Solution, offers a divorce preparation platform that helps those getting divorced save time, money and frustration.

You still obtain a divorce lawyer and/or a divorce mediator. My Divorce Solution doesn’t take the place of those professionals. But what it does do is speed up the process A LOT (which means thousands or tens of thousands less money spent on a lawyer and/or mediator.)

Here’s how it works. You pay a one-time fee, and then you begin working with Catherine and Karen on gathering your financials and basically doing discovery (which you are going to have to do anyhow!) Catherine and Karen then give you a “Divorce Financial Portrait” which you can then take to your divorce lawyer and/or mediator. Essentially, what this platform does is, cuts out tons of billable hours that you would pay your attorney to do it for you, and cuts out tons of time that it would normally take to get divorced.

Like this article? Check out, “Financial Planning for Divorce and 4 Reasons You Need the Divorce Financial Portrait”

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