Discovery is the phase of litigation in which both sides request information from one another. The purpose is to learn about each position taken by each side to facilitate a settlement or, if a settlement is not possible, to get as much information as possible to be used at trial.
There are two main types of discovery in Family Law cases: Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. These requests must be made formally and sent to the other side or his/her lawyer. Once received, the Maryland Rules state that you have thirty (30) days to answer. There is a prescribed format for answering these discovery requests and you may find that you will need an attorney to help you ask for discovery and to respond to the other side’s discovery requests of you. Please note that you are required to respond to these requests and failure to do so may result in various sanctions against you.
Maryland is an equitable distribution state which means that the court will equitably divide and distribute the marital property and liabilities in a divorce action. Equitable means “fair”; it does not always require a 50/50 split.
Nevertheless, the presumption is that the distribution should be equal unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution. The court will analyze a number of statutory factors to determine if an unequal distribution of assets and/or liabilities is justified. Marital fault is only one of many considerations that a Judge will look at if s/he decides to unequally distribute the marital assets.