Anatomy of a Divorce | Part 3 – Divorce Discovery | One Day Divorce

Welcome to Anatomy Of A Divorce – Part 3: Discovery

My name is Stephen Leskin. I am a divorce attorney in Portland. I’ve been practicing law here in Oregon since 1992.

So in the last video, we were talking about the petition of disillusion as the document which initiates a divorce in Oregon and ended up talking about the Judgment of Dissolution, the final document in any case and in any divorce.

So between the petition and the Judgment calls, comes something called Discovery.

Discovery is the right to obtain information from either the opposing party or third parties to help either make your case or defend your case. In a divorce case, a better way to think about Discovery is, I think of it as an inventory. It’s an inventory of the assets and liabilities of the marriage.

Discovery is governed by two different statutes in Oregon: in terms of divorce. The first statute is actually found in Oregon, ORS (The Organ Statute). it’s in chapter 107 for sure. And that chapter lays out mandatory items that parties are required to share with one another. So for example, you’re required to give up and produce the other party tax returns, income records, accounting for for debt, accounting for assets, accounting for retirement and other savings. Both parties have the right, under Oregon law, for a full accounting, for a full inventory of the assets, liabilities and income of the marriage.

So let’s suppose that you have a sense that maybe your spouse is concealing assets. What generally would happen is that your attorney or you will send to your spouse something called a Request For Production, and one of the requests would be any and all bank statements from the last year. And I’m supposing the spouse comes back and says “oh I might have them or I can’t find them”. You have two options: 1- you can go to court to get a motion to propel, which means that the judge will order your spouse to produce the records; 2- or you could just subpoena them directly from a bank, if you know what bank it is.

The third option would be to sit the spouse down at a deposition and take their statement under oath of all of their banking information. And that creates a penalty for perjury if they have an account at Wells Fargo or say I don’t have any other account. But regardless, if they are under oath there are penalties to that.

Divorce is unique, in that there are specific statutes that govern concealed assets and for a spouse who intentionally conceals an asset there are some dire consequences under Oregon law.

So for example, if a spouse didn’t say anything about the Wells Fargo account and they knew they had it; they just didn’t want the spouse to see that there was twenty three thousand dollars in it. The judge can reopen the case, reapportion that money, can give the entire amount to the non-offending spouse, can charge attorney fees and make other remedial steps to correct the deficiency in the original judgment.

So the takeaway from this is that Discovery is the process of retaining all of the information, to have a complete inventory of the income assets and liabilities of a marriage. By the time a couple gets ready for trial or is ready to go for trial or to negotiate an end to the marriage, they know they have confidence that they know everything about the marital picture, the financial picture at the end of the marriage.

Again my name is Steven Leskin. I’m a divorce attorney in Portland. I’ve been practicing law in Oregon since 1992.

Thank you for listening.
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