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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-25-2006, 01:06 PM
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I have been separated for almost 12 months and am going through an extremely bitter divorce. I have spent a small fortune that I don't have to get nowhere as we do not have even a Separation agreement. I have finally had enough of the ridiculous letters with "he said, she said" statements which are in response to his angry letters to me.

Approximately one month ago, after a session of mediation of some financial matters, I formed an Offer to Settle based on my ex's verbal wishes. It basically was to allow me to buy out my ex in the matrimonial home and buy the business and equipment from him. This was in essence his own request put in writing by myself.

His lawyer scheduled examinations for discovery on Monday and Tuesday(30, 31st of jan) of next week. I was told this was a formality in case the offer to settle did not proceed for some reason. Now, at the last minute, I still have not received a counter offer, and the discoveries is very definitely going to happen! I am petrified to see my ex(restraining order due to him assaulting me after separation) as we have not spoke in person due to a no-contact peace bond since March 05.

Has anyone else gone through this? What kinds of questions? What should I prepare for? I am so stressed out about this!!
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:21 PM
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I forgot to ask this:

In a list of items, documents I am required to provide, I am asked to bring all personal bank statements SINCE the date of separation. I feel this is none of his business. He sees our business bank account statements on consent which is essentially paying my piddly 250.00 per week drawing For my expenses. How is it his business what I spend it on? In my offer to settle, I have waived spousal support, and just claimed for child support, so how I spend my money really is not his business in my opinion. Unless this is standard, I feel it is another of his control freak actions that I had to deal with throughout our marriage.


I am also required to make a list of all household possessions I may have purchased since separation, even though we agreed(verbally via lawyers) that what little is in this house would remain mine except for his personal furniture acquired before marriage.

Is this standard?

Are questions regarding my personal life open season as well? Such as if a boyfriend sleeps over etc.??
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:32 PM
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Sorry to hear about your 'bitter divorce' ...

Remain in a place of calm, much is accomplished this way.

Regarding the discoveries stage ...

"A stage of the litigation process in which each party advises the other of the documents in his or her possession which bear on the issues in the action, and the exchange of those documents before trial. This process is regulated by the Rules of Court, which give each party an ongoing obligation to continue to advise the other of new documents coming into their possession or control. The purpose of this exchange is to encourage the settlement of litigation and to prevent “trial by ambush,” springing new evidence on the other party at trial. Discovery means the formal examination of a party under oath, outside court and in the absence of a judge, about matters at issue"

Seems you/h only need to provide documents regarding 'issues at hand' ...

Hold tight, other members will comment.

Hubby
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Old 01-25-2006, 05:08 PM
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I too do not have a legal answer for you, but wish you the best with it, and feel other members with more knowledge of the law will jump in soon. I do think, though, at least based on the way my case is operating here in the west, that an examination for discovery is a bit premature, without having received an answer to your offer to settle. Hopefully Jeff or Lindsay or someone will chime in shortly and help you out.
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:47 PM
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Independentgal,

An examination for discovery is part of the court process which occurs in every litigation that reaches a certain stage. It is an opportunity for the other side, often your spouse's lawyer, to examine you under oath in the presence of your lawyer but not a judge. Everything you say is being taken down and recorded by a reporter. This allows the other side the opportunity to get information, test how good a witness you would be at trial, and generally get a more solid feel for the case. Your lawyer of course would have the opportunity to examine for discovery your spouse. This is one of the main ways of getting information about your spouse, spouse's finances and any other information that is important to your case. This can cover issues of custody and access.

An Offer to Settle is always a good idea to have drawn up and sent to the other party, but they are under no obligation to submit a counter offer, or even reply to your.

I do try to offer supportive help, but in all honesty I found the questioning at the discoveries sessions stressful. They asked me all kinds of questions about my parenting skill to my financial situation to my spending habits. His lawyer would jump back and forth from one subject to the next and try and get me to "mess up". My best advice would be to try and stay as calm as possible and really listen to the questions and take your time in answering them.

Good Luck
Grace
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Old 01-26-2006, 09:59 AM
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grace


That is just what I am dreading about it! I am having visions about being hammered with questions by his attorney about all sorts of things. The main problem with my situation is that my ex has not moved on at all and he remains a very, very angry person. He is trying to control all aspects of my life(personal life, spending, etc.) still even though it has been a year. Did you get upset during the questioning? I have a terrible fear I am going to cry and lose control. I have worked so hard to distance myself from my ex the last year that I fear if I lose it, all of my hard work to "appear" strong to the ex will be for nothing. I am guessing he will be present in the room which besides court will be a first since 12 months ago.

Is there any standard response to a question that is none of their business? Or is everything their business?

How many questions can they ask, is there a limit?

My attorney is actually meeting with me on Sunday AM at his office(he is away til then) in order to go over the next day, but I am so nervous because I don't have a clear idea what will be questioned.


Did you have to bring documents to this?




Thanks for all of the replies!
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Old 01-26-2006, 11:34 AM
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Reminds me of my college days when studying for a major exam. We were given an outline of what may be covered but did not know what to expect.

In the past, I would get all nervous until one day when I went with the 'attitude' to give it my best ...

With that in mind, my scores rose substantially cause I had removed the stress and realized all my fears were but illusions.

Answer the questions as 'best' you can, remaining in truth. If you cannot comment, let them know its a good question and that it deserves further thought on your part, and that you cannot answer it at the moment.

Do take your time when answering always being positive of yourself and your abilities. If you do not want something to surface, play it down but dont lie about it.

Take comfort that you too will be able to ask all kinds of 'personal and fact finding' questions of your ex ...

Hubby
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Old 01-26-2006, 12:05 PM
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Independantgal,

To help you relax, try to picture the other people in the room including your's ex lawyer to be in their underwear.

They say this technique helps a person to relax when under the microscope when giving public speeches.
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:02 AM
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Independentgal,

Yes, I was stressed during the questioning, but for me personally it was more of a migraine headache type stress. I didn't cry, but I did find it uncomfortable to have my estranged husband sitting across from me. Don't forget that your lawyer will be there with you so he/she will be advising you on questions you don't have to answer. Think about what are the hot issues in your divorce and that is most likely where the questioning will focus on. Always stick with the truth so they won't be able to "trick" you. If you start to feel your getting stress, certainly ask to take a break. Most of the questioning revolved around what I had stated in previous affidavits and financial statements.

I did not have to bring any documents with me, but your lawyer will be able to give you a better idea of what is needed in your case when you meet with him beforehand. My questioning lasted the whole day. When my lawyers questioned my ex it was only for 2 hours. I lot will depend on the lawyers style.
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Old 01-27-2006, 06:55 PM
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I've debated for a couple of days whether or not I would relay my 'examination for discovery' experience to you. I don't want to upset you at all. Next week, once yours is finished, I'll give an overview of the ludacracy and bullying tactics involved with mine.
My ex wasn't even 'interrogated'(as I call examination for discovery)!!!!! Then again, when we attended mediation that didn't work out also-we had separate mediation, he saw 1 mediator while I saw the other, then we were supposed to switch. I was told by my soon-to-be-other mediator to wait in the lobby and she'd be right back. Two hours later she still hadn't shown up and after asking around for her, it turns out she went home. Mediation was never completed.
I told you about the mediation fiasco to give you an idea of how bizarre, utterly disrespectful,aggravating, stressful,etc. my court experience was, and continues to be, so do not, I repeat DO NOT, think this is the norm.....I'm sure yours with be carried out with a some diplomacy.Alot depends on what your ex's lawyer is like.
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