What does the discovery process entail?

Discovery is the process in which litigants obtain information from the other party to be used at hearings or trials. Typically, discovery is done in three different forms: depositions (oral discovery), interrogatories (written discovery) and production of documents and/or items, recordings and the like. In addition to these, parties in domestic relations cases in Illinois also have to do a financial disclosure statement and provide attachments, such as tax returns, W-2’s, 1099’s and pay stubs. It is very important that the rules of discovery are followed closely throughout litigation, otherwise, you may waive your right to obtaining these discovery documents.

In domestic relations cases, obtaining discovery isn’t necessarily enough. Parties may need to subpoena witnesses to testify regarding the documents, as to their authenticity, and/or to allow cross-examination. Clients often ask me if a letter from so and so or an affidavit from so and so or a notarized statement from so and so can be used in a case. Typically, it is not admissible before the Court unless the person is there to be cross-examined by the other side or other party, if they are representing themselves pro se. Pro se litigants are held to the same standard of knowledge of the laws as are attorneys, which puts pro se litigants at a steep disadvantage when representing themselves at a trial or a hearing. Our attorneys are very experienced in the evidentiary and discovery processes in Illinois and are happy to help you ensure you put on the best case that you possibly can, as your counsel.

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