One of the reasons I press for
amicable divorce is that not only is the process far less threatening and upsetting for
everybody involved, it’s far less expensive. For a successful divorce,
truthful presentation of information is indispensable. When spouses chose
to be contentious, that’s when my staff and I have to roll up our
sleeves and make forceful demands on behalf of our client through formal
A release of records is used in both formal and informal discovery. It
is similar to a Request for Production of Documents (Request), but a simple
release is far less involved.
The release allows a third party (e.g., financial institution, employer,
school) to release records to the attorney handling your case. The release
is specific: it names a specific person and/or account name, a specific
range of dates and/or a specific event, and the signature of the party
to whom the records pertain. Obviously, the last part, the signature,
is where an amicable situation is very important.
In amicable situations, this type of release can be used when you or your
spouse need help with filling in missing records. Some agencies, like
the IRS, have standardized the process – all you need to do is complete
form 4506T to request copies of tax returns. I hope that yours is an amicable
divorce. In such cases, you and your spouse are freely providing each
other needed information. If your case is contentious, then the simple
release probably will not be very useful and other tools will be needed
to force access to records that may be needed in your case.