Monday, March 13, 2017

What is "discovery" in divorce cases in Michigan?

Q: What does it mean when you get served with interrogatories? I am getting divorced in Michigan, and my husband's attorney sent me all this paperwork to fill out. Do I have to? It seems a bit excessive.

A: Interrogatories are part of the discovery process in divorce cases in Michigan. 

Discovery is a period set by the court in a divorce case to determine things that the court will need to know before a judgment of divorce is entered.

Discovery can cover many topics, such as : income and assets of the parties, debts of the parties, employment history (this is related to income), educational history, infidelity (this may relate to fault of the marriage breakdown, and/or custody), criminal history (could relate to custody), and so on.

Some questions asked in interrogatories may seem too broad, but that doesn't mean they don't have to be answered. Ask an attorney for help.

Since you have been served with interrogatories, that means you will need to provide a written response for your husband's attorney. If the interrogatories also had requests to produce, you will need to make copies of things like tax returns, pay stubs, 401k statements, etc. Also, you will have to respond within the timeframe, or you could be facing a sanction for not responding. The deadline will be 28 days after you have received service of the interrogatories.

Please don't delay on this, as I said, sanctions (this is a fine to you) can result from not responding on time. You could also be sanctioned for giving an answer that is less than honest.

Other forms of discovery can be: subpoenas to your employer, subpoenas to your banks, depositions (this is where you can be asked questions about what's in the answers to your interrogatories), and so on. Best of luck in your situation.