What If My Spouse Refuses to Participate in the Discovery Process?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-divorce-papers-image25772703    Once a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and the divorce proceeding is underway, both parties have a right to conduct discovery.  The purpose of discovery is for both spouses to provide and exchange information and documentation relevant to the divorce so that each spouse has a complete understanding of the other’s financial situation, assets and liabilities, income, and so on.

            In some contested divorces, a spouse will have legitimate concerns or doubts as to his or her spouse voluntarily participating or engaging in discovery, whether it be due to the spouse’s character or knowing that it’s highly likely for that spouse to intentionally conceal or withhold important information.

Fortunately, there are procedures established under the Illinois Supreme Court Rules to protect the parties’ respective rights to discovery and to ensure both parties fully participate in the discovery process.  If you issued Interrogatories or a Notice to Produce on your spouse, which is pretty standard to obtain answers and request documents, and your spouse fails to response or tender the requested documentation by the deadline for the request, the next step would be for you to make a reasonable attempt to resolve any discovery differences pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 201(k).  Most often, this is satisfied by preparing a letter to the opposing party indicating what discovery was requested, that the deadline has passed and that the other spouse has failed to respond to said requests.

If you’ve exhausted making the required reasonable attempts to resolve differences, then you may file a Motion to Compel with the court requesting that the court order your spouse to comply by responding or providing to your requests.  Such a motion to compel can also request the court to award attorneys fees for time spent preparing and presenting the motion to compel or other appropriate sanctions against your spouse.

Leave a Reply