David P. Badanes, Esq.

If you have seen the movie “My Cousin Vinny”, there is a scene where Marisa Tomei informs Joe Pesci (Vinny in the movie) that the other attorney has to give him all of his files and list of witnesses. Vinny is surprised that he is entitled to this information. However, in the American justice system, discovery is required.

In a contested divorce, one of the first things that will happen is that each attorney will send a list of discovery demands. This will be a long list of requests seeking all types of documents. Typically, you are required to get three (3) to five (5) years of records. Discovery demands typically request the following type of documents:

• Income Tax Returns
• Pay Stubs
• Bank Statements
• Retirement Statements
• Insurance Statements
• Real Estate Deeds
• Stock and Bond Statements
• Employment Records
• Credit Card Statements
• Corporation Records
• Car Registration

You are required to make a diligent search and effort to obtain the requested list of documents. For example, you may have thrown out your old bank statements, however, you can usually obtain your bank statements from the bank or online. Since it would be easy enough to obtain your bank statements, you can’t simply say you did not have them.

If you do not produce a document, that very fact can be held against you. If you do not produce documents or delay in doing so, your spouse’s attorney can request a court order forcing you to do so. In the court’s order, the court may make you pay your spouse’s attorney fees for having to go to the expense of requesting the court’s intervention. Accordingly, it is important to fully cooperate with any discovery demands and requests.

Discovery is important because it can reveal “hidden” money or other information. The documents that are exchanged in discovery can be submitted as evidence.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous individuals in Long Island, Suffolk County and Nassau County in obtaining a divorce and in explaining how discovery works. If you have questions about your divorce, call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.
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