Divorce discovery is the process near the beginning of divorce proceedings where spouses have an open exchange of information. This includes mostly financial information and helps negotiating or litigating spouses and their attorneys determine a fair split of marital assets and the necessity of support. Discovery can be court-ordered and formal, or it can be informal. Both processes are easier with the support of a Lincoln divorce attorney.

Dividing marital assets and debt is one of the most fundamental aspects of all divorces. Nebraska divides assets according to equitable distribution laws. If a couple has their assets divided by the court, the court will consider what an equitable split of assets is, not necessarily an equal split of assets. If one spouse hides marital or separate assets or miscalculates the value of certain assets, this can severely affect the final division of property. Discovery exists to help prevent that.

Court-Ordered Discovery and Informal Discovery

If a divorce is contested or managed through litigation, discovery is always court-ordered and a formal process. If spouses are getting an uncontested divorce, they can decide whether they want to use the formal or informal discovery process. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Formal discovery can be more stressful and time-consuming, but it also has more effective protections for spouses and methods of recourse if a spouse hides assets.

Both informal and formal discovery reviews information such as:

  • Income and pay stubs
  • Bank account information
  • Business or business interests information
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Titles for real estate and other property
  • Lists of expenses
  • Tax returns
  • Employment history
  • Insurance and healthcare costs
  • Information about any children

Information on both a couple’s marital and separate property is relevant for accurately and fairly splitting assets. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or you do not have access to marital financial information, you may want to use the formal discovery process. Formal discovery has several tools that attorneys can use to discover hidden assets or discrepancies.

Formal Discovery Tools

Court-ordered discovery doesn’t always use all the following tools, but it can use any that are necessary. Depositions and interrogatories are typically the most common discovery tools that are used. Most of these have a time limit of 30 days, by the end of which the other party must respond. Formal discovery tools include:


Interrogatories are written questions that you and your attorney draft and provide for your spouse to answer, and your spouse will do the same with their attorney. In Nebraska, parties typically cannot ask each other more than 50 interrogatories, although there are cases where the court will allow more.

Interrogatory questions are answered under oath, meaning that parties must fully and truthfully answer the questions or risk being held in contempt of court. However, parties can object to unfair questions. The questions typically must be kept to financial information and other facts related to the divorce case.

Requests for Production of Documents

This is a formal request for your spouse to produce specific documents, such as deeds, titles, account statements, paychecks, and similar information. These requests must be made in good faith, meaning that your spouse has access to the requested documents and that the request is not unreasonable. This request is used if relevant documents were not present in the initial exchange of information.

Requests for Admission

Requests for admission are simple statements that spouses can confirm or deny, which helps attorneys determine important specifics within a case. These are also under oath.


Depositions are typically in-person interviews, but they could also be conducted through video conference. Divorce attorneys ask parties questions under oath, helping both attorneys understand how the divorce case is likely to proceed. Because these are answered under oath, discrepancies during a trial can result in contempt of court charges.


A subpoena is typically the last resort if a request to produce documents was not followed or the other steps of the discovery process did not uncover the necessary information. A subpoena can secure relevant documentation and information from third parties if your spouse is not cooperating. These may include banks, schools, employers, hospitals, and other relevant parties.


Q: Is Discovery Worth It in a Divorce?

A: Discovery is a part of any divorce where property needs to be divided, although spouses do not always have to engage in the formal discovery process. Both informal and formal discovery involve the exchange of crucial financial information, which helps make fair and equitable property division and spousal support determinations. Formal discovery may be worth it if you believe that a spouse is hiding assets or you are unsure if assets are correctly valued. An attorney can help you determine what is right for your situation.

Q: How Many Interrogatories Are Allowed in Nebraska?

A: Nebraska allows no more than 50 interrogatories, although the court may allow more if just cause is shown. Each individual question, subquestion, and subpart counts as a separate interrogatory. These rules cover all civil interrogatories, but they can be objected to based on specific reasons. If you are unsure whether interrogatories are necessary for your divorce, you can talk with a skilled attorney.

Q: What Is an Informal Discovery Request in Divorce?

A: An informal discovery in a Nebraska divorce is the process of exchanging information between spouses without as much court oversight. This includes exchanging information about separate and marital assets, income and resources, and other important financial information necessary for asset division, spousal support, and child support.

Informal discovery is only available when spouses are getting an uncontested divorce outside of court, although spouses can choose to use formal discovery. Spouses who are getting a contested divorce must go through the formal discovery process.

Q: Why Is Discovery Important in Divorce?

A: Discovery is important because it helps each spouse and their attorneys understand the financial standing of the other party. This helps negotiations or litigations proceed with an informed understanding of each spouse’s separate assets, their combined marital assets, and their general financial ability. This helps each spouse request fair property division and an accurate amount of support. If either spouse is hiding assets in an attempt to make these decisions unfair, the formal discovery process can help discover them.

Determining the Need for Formal Discovery in Your Divorce

An attorney can help you decide if formal discovery is necessary. Contact Stange Law Firm for help with the discovery process.