What is the Divorce Discovery Process?
Discovery is the process by which parties gather critical case relevant information and evidence from the opposing party. In a divorce or other domestic relations proceeding, the discovery process is the method by which you can obtain relevant information relating to financials, expenses for the children and even evidence of adultery if any exists.
There may be mandatory discovery in your case, depending on your county. This discovery is required by courts so that the court is guaranteed to have as full a picture of both parties’ financial and living situations as possible. It serves as an initial discovery that gets the case started; your own attorney can pursue additional, formal discovery later on, as well.
In some counties you will need to complete a mandatory Answers to Interrogatories at the start of your case that answer certain specifics about your life and financial status. You must serve a copy of this document to the opposing party once you have completed it. Information provided in this mandatory discovery include:
|1) Information related to your background, including:|
|2) Information related to your employment & income, including:|
A 3-year employment history
A list of all your sources of income
|3) Information related to your children, including:|
All expenses related to your children
Any special needs your child may have
Any existing child plan
In addition to these core questions, you will also need to address some miscellaneous issues, including whether you claim any non-marital property, all insurance policies you have, a list of gifts you’ve received, and a list of any other legal actions in which you are involved.
Mandatory Required Documents to be Produced
In Georgia, it is also mandatory that you submit a response to a Required Documents to be Produced. You will need to provide copies of:
3 years of tax returns
Your most recent W-2
12 months of pay stubs.
Evidence of all sources of income from all sources
Most recent statements for financial assets
Documents related to childcare and school
Documents related to any business you own
This response may also include something known as a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. Called a DRFA for short, this document is a sworn financial statement. It is mandatory in most counties in Georgia, and it resembles a budget, breaking down all of the expenses related to your household. You should always endeavor to be truthful in this document. You can make amendments to your DRFA if you find you have made a mistake.
The Discovery phase of your divorce can be one of its most intense times. During the Discovery phase, you must disclose many personal facts about your life and finances. Knowing what is coming ahead of time can streamline the process for you. In the following sections, we will walk you through the logistics of discovery in Georgia, including:
Interrogatories & Requests for Document Production;
Requests for Admissions;
Mandatory and Informal Discovery.