Discovery Process in a New Jersey Divorce
In most New Jersey divorce cases , there is discovery period. This sometimes lengthy process can be expensive, but may be crucial for both the plaintiff and defendant in order to gather all the necessary information that may be relevant in the settlement or trial of the case. Discovery in a NJ divorce action includes interrogatories, depositions, notice to produce, request for admissions, appointment of experts such as a forensic accountant, property appraiser, employability expert, and the appointment of a mental health specialist to conduct psychological or custody evaluations. The discovery period for expedited track cases runs from 90 days from the date of service of the complaint and 120 days from the date of service of the complaint in standard track cases. However, the time for completion of discovery can be adjusted by the Judge in a NJ divorce case. Both parties shall be furnished with all documents or reports obtained during the discovery process.
R. 5:5-1 allows the following modes of discovery:
Depositions are sworn oral testimonies of experts, parties, and witnesses. Depositions are not permitted in matters relating to the elements that constitute grounds for a divorce, termination of domestic partnership, or the dissolution of a civil union. Therefore, one is not allowed to take a spouse’s deposition in regard to an act of adultery. A party wishing to take the deposition must give 10 days notice of the same.Interrogatories
Interrogatories are a set of written questions which the other spouse must answer under oath. They are permitted in regard to all relevant issues in family actions. Interrogatories are governed by R. 4:17.Notice to Produce
A party may be asked to produce credit, bank, tax returns, business records, insurance policies, and other documents for inspection to aid in discovery. This request is called a “Notice to Produce” which is governed by R. 4:18-1.Request for Admissions
A party to a family law action may request the other party to admit or deny some relevant facts from a list of written questions. This is called a “Request for Admissions” which is governed by R. 4:22-1.
It is important to note that there are consequences for failing to comply with the above discovery requests such as having a pleading suppressed or dismissed and having to pay the other party’s attorney fees incurred for a motion in regard to the same.
Peter Van Aulen is a certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a matrimonial attorney. A Certified matrimonial law attorney is a honor granted by the New Jersey Supreme Court to lawyers who have shown high levels of education, knowledge, skill and experience in family law. He has over 22 years experience as a New Jersey divorce and family law attorney and has successfully handled hundreds of divorces throughout the years. His office is located in Saddle Brook New Jersey. If you are faced with a NJ divorce, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845 -7400 for a free consultation.