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What should I expect in discovery?

It almost goes without saying that divorces can be contentious. The emotions of a marriage gone bad can spill into the proceedings and make even routine exercises seem vindictive. When it comes to the process of discovery, emotionally wounded parties can take things very personally. This is probably why discovery is arguably one of the most contentious parts of a divorce.

Indeed, no one wants an outside party probing through their “dirty laundry” looking for dirt, which is why there are limits to what may be discoverable under Virginia law. However, discovery is a common part of divorce litigation, and this post will highlight a few examples of what may be discovered.

Financial information – A soon-to-be ex is entitled to know about your earnings, whether you were a w-2 employee or managed a small business. They are also entitled to know how much an investment portfolio is worth at the time of divorce. As such, financial information is a common subject of discovery.

Communications with love interests – As we have noted in prior posts, adultery is a ground for divorce. If marital assets were used in clandestine relationships, these communications could be relevant in determining how marital assets could be distributed in divorce.

Social media posts – It may not seem fair, but anything put on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or any other social media platform is considered to be discoverable information. Indeed, an argument could be made that information set behind privacy settings is not public information, but this may be a tough argument to make.

If you have questions about discovery and the extent of information that must be turned over during divorce, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.

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