Is Formal Discovery Required in a Divorce?
by Larry Goldsmith, C.P.A., J.D., M.A.F.F. In a recent case (which happens to be someone I know) the Appellate Court of Illinois ruled: "That if you fail to engage in formal discovery to ascertain the respondents' net worth or assets that were or were not disclosed, then you did not act diligently and therefore lose the right to reopen the judgment." In Re Goldsmith 962.N.E. 2d 517 (2011) 356 III.Dec.832 As a forensic Certified Public Accountant, I receive many telephone calls and emails every month from women in the process of divorce requesting my help with what they believe to be dissipation of income prior to their divorce. Unfortunately, many of these women were not informed by their attorney that an expert witness was required to qualify financial facts and the financial expertÂ’s opinions were required to be disclosed before trial. Again, In Re Goldsmith, Â… each party acknowledged in the M.D.A. that there was limited discovery, warranted full and complete disclosures and if property was not disclosed, then a court may distribute the property as delineated in 750 ILCS 5/503.Â” In this case, the respondent was a CBOE trader and prior to the marriage the parties entered into a prenuptial agreement. At issue for the Appellate Court to consider were three assets that the petitioner labeled as undisclosed:
- Litigation income from a settlement of a premarital asset: $1.3 million.
- Jointly held Bank stock ownership listed as bank assets on the unsigned financial affidavit: $300,000.
- Income tax refunds from amended tax returns filed after the divorce was finalized, on jointly file tax return years.
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