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If your matter proceeds to Court then you may hear us talk about, or a Registrar of the Court make an Order, that "the parties complete discovery".

Discovery is a process that the Family Court has designed for each party to be fully aware and to have knowledge of all relevant documents in the other party's possession, power or control.

Discovery is a two-step process.

First Step

An Order is made that both you and your partner must file an Affidavit of Documents;

An Affidavit of Documents is simply an Affidavit sworn by you which lists all documents in your possession, power or control that are relevant to the Court proceedings;

Each particular matter is different and we will advise you as to what documents you should include in your Affidavit. As an example, however, these documents will usually include such things as bank statements, credit card statements, cheque book butts, rates notices, phone and electricity accounts, receipts, tax returns, financial statements, business documents, documents relating to the purchase or sale of any property, etc;

After you have sworn your Affidavit listing all of these documents, this is then filed in the Family Court and a copy served upon your partner's solicitors. They similarly serve upon us a copy of their Affidavit of Documents.

Second Step

The next step in the process of discovery is known as "inspection";

This process enables us to attend the offices of your partner's solicitors and actually inspect all documents that are listed in their Affidavit of Documents, we are able then to take copies (if desired) of any relevant documents of your partner;

Likewise, the solicitors for your partner are entitled to attend our offices and inspect all your documents which are listed in your Affidavit and request to take copies of these documents;

This process is important, as often in Family Law disputes, you may not be aware of your partner's financial circumstances and if documents have not been voluntarily produced, then this procedure can be used to require production and disclosure of important financial documents;

In many cases after the discovery process has been completed, it aids in the settlement and negotiations of your matter as both parties usually then have further knowledge of each party's financial affairs.

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