How Do I Get a Fair Settlement in a Minnesota Divorce If I Do Not Know What My Spouse Has?

by Amanda Maenner on August 2, 2010

In every divorce case, the issue of a property settlement must be addressed.  Every marriage results in either assets to be divided, debts to be divided, or both.  Sometimes, only one spouse has been responsible for paying bills and making purchasing decisions.  The other spouse may have no idea how much money (or debt) the parties actually have and where it is located.  How do you deal with that in a divorce?

In the divorce proceedings, there is a process called “discovery”.  In discovery, you are able to request information from the other party and they are able to do the same of you.  The information is not really restricted; as long as it relates in some way to your marriage, assets or debts, the other party is required to answer.  This process is done under oath, so if later you find out something was not properly disclosed, the party that did not disclose it may get into trouble from the court.

Discovery in divorce cases is the same as it is in any general civil action.  There are rules regarding what kind of discovery can be done, such as written questions or taking testimony under oath, and some of those discovery methods have limitations on them.  For example, you can do what are called Interrogatories, where you ask for specific information from the other party.  The Interrogatories are limited to only 50, though the court generally will not enforce that limit as long as you are asking for relevant information.

If, after discovery is over you still do not feel that you have enough information, you may want to hire an expert to review the documents and try to track any missing assets.  This will help you to ensure that you have a complete picture of the financial situation before making any decisions on settling your case.

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