Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Saving time and money on divorce discovery

Divorce discovery procedures are a one of the first things that Houstonians want to know about when they first visit their divorce attorney. You and your spouse will be required to supply a large number of supporting financial and other documents. If your attorney charges by the hour, you can save attorney fees by compiling the production documents yourself.

Divorce discovery is the information gathering process used before appearing before Houston’s Family Court. The process will be time-consuming and at many times exasperating for both you and your attorney. Knowing the process and what documents you probably will be requested to produce helps you plan ahead and expedite your divorce settlement.

Divorce Discovery Process

There are four types of discovery requests typical to Texas divorces. Some of the requests can be complicated and tedious if you are not prepared. Your divorce attorney will advise you on what requests are relevant to your case and when you should object.

  • Questions, called interrogatories, that your spouse gets to ask (and you get to ask your spouse). Typically these questions are financial in nature, but depending on your case may also include child visitation and conservatorship and listing witnesses.
  • Disclosure requests are comparable to interrogatories, but are limited in scope. Due to the constraints, disclosure requests can be easily addressed.
  • Production requests require you to produce written documents.
  • Admission requests only require you to answer yes or no.

Divorce Discovery Documents

The Harris County Family Court in Houston in Houston seeks to divide community property in a fair and equitable manner. You’ll be asked to produce voluminous amounts of paperwork to give to your spouse’s attorney and/or the Family Court. Be prepared to supply

  • Federal tax returns for several years
  • W-2, 1099, K-1 filed with your tax returns
  • Pay stubs, usually for the most recent 3 months
  • Bank account statements from your checking/savings/investment accounts
  • Investment brokerage statements
  • Retirement plan statements (the most recent month or quarter)
  • Life insurance information

You most likely have assets that will have to be valued at fair market value. Make sure that you have current appraisals on houses, cars, vacation homes, artwork, and other valuables.

Additionally, you probably will be requested to produce documentation supporting your living expenses. Living expenses are ordinary and non-recurring expenses of running your household, educating your children, and providing medical care. Documentation substantiating living expenses includes

  • Deed, mortgage, equity loans on your home
  • Utility bills including invoices for internet and cable TV
  • Home insurance policy and statements
  • Property tax statements
  • Lawn service invoices
  • Grocery receipts
  • Gasoline receipts and auto insurance statement
  • Clothing receipts
  • Credit card statements
  • Repair invoices
  • Dry cleaning receipts
  • Children’s school tuition or day care invoices, medical statements, and receipts for other expenses such school supplies, special activities, lunch money
  • Vacations
  • Student loan payment books
  • Health insurance policy and invoices

Your Houston divorce attorney will advise and assist you if you can’t access discovery records solely in your spouse’s name. Gaining access usually only requires only a phone call from your attorney.

The bottom line is if your attorney compiles your divorce discovery information, he or she is on the clock and will charge you for the work performed gathering and compiling the documents. You can save on attorney’s fees by performing much of the legwork yourself.

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