What Happens During the Divorce Discovery Process?

Filing divorce papers

Divorce can be a tricky process to figure out on your own. If you’re preparing to file for divorce, you may have heard of the discovery process. If you need help figuring out the discovery period and the rest of the divorce process, we are here to help you! Continue reading this blog to learn more about divorce discovery or contact one of our Bristol County Massachusetts Divorce Issue Lawyers for quality legal advice.


Most divorces require a discovery process. This is essentially the period of time of assembling evidence after the initial filing of the divorce petition and before the litigation or mediation. Discovery can be lengthy and at times expensive, but it’s usually necessary for both spouses to gather information needed for the divorce settlement. Discovery is especially important for fault-based divorces, which is when one person is accused of committing a matrimonial offense such as adultery or abusive behavior. To successfully file a fault-based divorce, you need a sufficient amount of evidence to prove your spouse’s fault, which can mean an even longer discovery period.


In Massachusetts, discovery can begin at any time by either spouse. If the discovery begins after the initial divorce petition is filed and responded to, then discovery generally must be responded to within 30 days. The court can create different timelines for discovery depending on the case. There are many different types of evidence that are collected during the discovery process. Discovery documentation usually includes:

  • Depositions – These are sworn oral testimonies from spouses, witnesses, and experts. Depositions are not allowed to prove grounds of a fault divorce.
  • Interrogations – Spouses must answer questions under oath relating to family matters.
  • Notice to Produce – One spouse may request documentation to be inspected by officials. This is usually financial papers like
  • Request for Admissions – This is essentially a list of questions given from one spouse to the other as a way to confirm or deny relevant facts.

To ensure that all documentation is collected, there are consequences if you fail to comply with any of the above requests.

While many divorce settlements benefit from discovery, it is not legally required for the divorce process in Massachusetts. Some divorce cases can reach a successful conclusion without needing a discovery period.

If you’re going through a divorce, the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley are on your side! Contact a trusted and highly experienced attorney today for more information.