Discovery during a Massachusetts divorce makes it possible for you to gain access to information and documents in the possession of the other party. It also makes it possible for the other party to gain access to information and documents in your possession.
The financial statement is a form of discovery, and it is a form of discovery that is required in every case, even if you settle the case.
Another mandatory form of discovery in divorce cases is Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 410, Mandatory Self-Disclosure.
Under this rule, each party is required to deliver to the other person, within forty-five days of service of the summons, copies of the following documents:
• federal and state income tax returns for the prior three years;
• statements for the prior three years for all bank accounts;
• four most recent paystubs;
• documentation concerning the cost and nature of available health insurance coverage;
• statements for the prior three years concerning securities, pensions, IRAs, and similar assets;
• loan or mortgage applications submitted within three years prior to filing for divorce; and
• financial statements and statements of assets and liabilities prepared by either party within three years prior to filing for divorce.
Because the financial statement is a generic form and the mandatory self-disclosure refers to a specific list of documents, the information you obtain on the other party’s financial statement and through mandatory self-disclosure
may not be suited to the actual questions you may have about the other party’s financial condition.
Questions you might have concerning non-financial matters are altogether outside the scope of the financial statement and mandatory self-disclosure. As a result, the Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure create a broad range of discovery options. The most common forms of discovery are depositions (i.e., recorded testimony) (Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 30, 31), interrogatories to parties (i.e., lists of written questions that require written answers) (Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 33), and production of documents and items (Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 34), and request for admissions (Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 34).
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.
Family Law Advocacy for Low and Moderate Income Litigants