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Must you testify against your spouse in divorce litigation?

The prospect of your spouse testifying against you in a divorce case may be unsettling. Yet for divorcing couples that cannot reach a settlement on one or more material divorce issues, turning to the court for resolution may be the only solution to deadlock.

The process begins with the filing of a divorce petition in a state court in the county where at least one of the spouses lives. The petition names all of the parties, including any children. The petition also sets forth the general relief requested by the party, such as child custody, spousal support, and whether there is any separate property outside the marital estate. If other papers accompanied the petition, such as motions for temporary relief, there will be a specified amount of time to respond.

The next major phase in a divorce case is discovery. There are various methods by which a party can gather relevant facts about a case, such as questions under oath or depositions. Since the assets in the marital estate must also be divided in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal, the discovery phase may also include requests to produce documents. Financial documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, account statements, and potentially even electronic data from a computer’s hard drive might all be fair game.

Experts may also be retained to interpret some of the evidence gathered during discovery. Forensic accountants might offer their professional opinion about financial documents, whereas child psychologists might testify about disputed custody issues. Our family law firm has experience to prepare a strong case for our divorce clients.

Source: FindLaw, “Family Court and Final Judgment,” copyright 2017, Thomson Reuters

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Leesburg, VA 20176

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