Understanding the discovery process

When working with your Wisconsin attorney, the discovery process is perhaps the most important component, but do not let the legal jargon intimidate you. The term “discovery” merely indicates the steps by which attorneys gather information needed to present or defend a client’s case during legal proceedings. The discovery process can usually be broken down into the following steps.

Disclosure of assets

During the discovery process, attorneys will seek for the other party to provide documentation of all assets. This can include proof of debt, property, tax returns or business information. While financials can feel very personal, it is important for you to be as transparent as possible with your counsel during this time.

Interrogatory forms

Interrogatory forms or questions are merely a set of questions prepared by the opposing party’s attorney for you to answer. Typically, these questions are related to assets and debt. However, the questions can also pertain to educational backgrounds, work history and more. An experienced attorney will work to craft these questions carefully in order to gather as much information as possible.

Requests for admission

A request for admission is an attorney asking the opposing party if a fact is true or false. When you or your former spouse replies, these answers are considered to be under oath. If a party affirms that a fact is true, the attorney does not have to prove anything further in trial regarding that fact. However, if a party denies a fact, then the attorney will have to work to prove the fact is instead true. Wrongfully saying anything is true or untrue under oath can have negative legal implications. It is important to work especially close with your attorney during this phase of discovery.


The last phase involves depositions. Depositions are question-and-answer sessions. Depositions can be extremely insightful and allow your attorney to ask further questions, analyze the other party’s behavior and gather additional information. Be sure to consult with your attorney during and after the deposition phase.

While it can be extremely beneficial to your case, the other party will also try to benefit from the discovery process. Working closely with an experienced family law attorney may help ensure that you are prepared.