What Kind of Information is Shared During the Discovery Phase of a Divorce?

The discovery phase is an essential part of many divorces in North Carolina. Although this stage of the process does not get as much exposure in Hollywood legal movies, it is just as important as the actual trial itself - perhaps more so. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of a favorable legal outcome in a divorce, you must build your case on a solid foundation of information and evidence. Gathering and compiling this information is precisely what the discovery phase is all about. 

During the discovery phase, your attorney’s skills will become apparent. This is their opportunity to show off their investigative and critical thinking talents. In order to help you succeed, they will need to analyze every piece of data they come across during the discovery phase. They will also need to recognize what kind of information to request from their spouse and what kind of evidence might be helpful to in their upcoming trial. This requires not only logical reasoning but also abstract thought and an active imagination. 

What kinds of information can be requested during the discovery phase? What kind of information is confidential? What kinds of demands can you make of your spouse, and what can they ask of you? These are all critical questions, and a legal professional best answers them. Enlist the help of a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina, and you can approach the discovery phase with a measure of clarity and confidence. 

Financial Information

Financial information is very important in a divorce, and you can bet that your spouse will be requesting plenty of financial documents as you move through the discovery process. This goes for both the primary earner and the dependent spouse. A dependent spouse wants to ensure that the primary earner is not concealing assets. They might also want to make sure that they have a clear idea of how much money this primary earner rakes in every month. This is important for matters related to alimony, child support, and property division. 

On the other hand, a “paying spouse” might also request financial information from the dependent spouse. Perhaps they believe that they are not entirely as dependent as they are letting on. Maybe the dependent spouse actually has a considerable amount of inheritance money that could support them long into the future. This could result in a lower amount of child support and alimony being demanded from the paying spouse. 

Evidence of Marital Misconduct

Unlike many other states, marital misconduct can have a considerable impact on divorces in North Carolina. This means that attorneys may focus on collecting evidence of alleged marital misconduct during the discovery phase of a divorce. Marital misconduct may come in many different forms, including substance abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse, and so on. However, many attorneys focus on infidelity since this can impact alimony in a very significant way. If a dependent spouse is guilty of adultery, they may lose their ability to receive alimony. If the paying spouse is guilty of the same offense, they may be subject to much stricter standards when it comes to handing over alimony payments. 

Evidence of alleged adultery might include text messages, emails, photographs, or even financial information that reveals expenditures on gifts for an alleged lover. It is imperative to hand over this information, no matter how embarrassing it might be. If you conceal information, you could face severe legal penalties. 


In addition, the discovery phase might include depositions. These are sworn testimonies provided by you, your spouse, or other witnesses. When someone gives a sworn deposition, this information can then be used in court. For example, a neighbor might have witnessed your spouse abusing your children. This information can be helpful to in a custody battle, as it can reduce the chances of your spouse getting custody of the children. 

Confidentiality in Divorces

Some very embarrassing and compromising information can come out of the discovery phase. You may be wondering whether your privacy will be respected during this process. While trials generally go on public record, the court does make an effort to respect your privacy in many situations. In addition, information that is not relevant cannot play a role in your trial, and it will not be recognized by the court. Because of this, it will not be included in the public record. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching for a qualified attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold Smith, PLLC. We have helped many spouses with their divorces over the years, and we can help you navigate the discovery phase with confidence and efficiency. In addition, we can represent you effectively when things progress to the actual trial. The discovery phase is incredibly important, and it requires a keen eye for detail. Book your consultation at your earliest convenience, and let us guide you through this process efficiently.