Informal versus Formal Discovery

Any attorney will tell you that the key to helping a client successfully achieve his or her goals is ample preparation.  This is no less true in family law and custody cases, especially as Signaturethere are many facts and nuances that are relevant to helping a client achieve his or her goals for the family.  Discovery is one way to help make sure that you and your attorney have the information necessary to proceed with your case.  During a divorce case, you and your attorney may elect to proceed with formal discovery or information discovery.  Before making the decision as to which is best for your case, you should have an understanding on the difference between the two.

Formal discovery is the process of discovery that is clearly regulated by statute and common law.  Types of formal discovery include such requests as interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and depositions.  With formal discovery, once the requests are served, the other party will only have a set amount of time to respond fully to those requests.  Any objections to the requests or objections to violation of the time limits under Minnesota law will have to be put before the court.  The judge will have the right to sanction the party who fails to comply, including with financial awards, exclusion of particular types or pieces of evidence, or even striking entire pleadings.

Informal discovery, however, is when the parties and their attorneys agree to exchange information that is commonly exchanged in discovery without the requirement of completing and serving formal requests on the other parties.  One of the primary advantages of informal discovery is that it can cut down on attorney’s fees, as you would not be required to pay your attorney to draft the formal discovery requests.  In addition, informal discovery can also be closely tailored.  For example, if you and the other side have agreed on all issues except setting child support, informal discovery can be done to simply exchange proof of income.  If your attorney cannot get the other attorney to cooperate or communicate, informal discovery may not be an option for your case.

We have extensive experience helping our clients select the right tools during divorce to properly move forward with their case. Call us today at 651-371-9117 and let us help you.