Interrogatories in Divorce and Family Law Actions in New Jersey
Family Lawyers Getting Clients Prepared for the Interrogatory Process in Toms River, Berkeley, Brick, Belmar, and nearby communities
Sometimes, getting a divorce or child custody agreement can be straightforward, with little discussion, and worked out through mediation in a brief amount of time. Other times, the process is more complex, and it is necessary to go to court. To prepare correctly, New Jersey law allows each party to send a list of questions, known as an interrogatory, as a part of the discovery phase of the proceedings. Each party’s written responses are considered to be under oath as if they were spoken in a deposition or live court proceedings.
Having an experienced family attorney can make a substantial difference in the completion of your requested interrogatory. The seasoned divorce and family lawyers at The Bronzino Law Fim will advise you on each of the questions to provide accurate and precise information about your case, assist with posing the right questions of others involved, and ensure that every aspect the interrogatory process has been successfully executed to provide a comprehensive vision of the situation. As we map out the strategy ahead, including through every stage of the discovery process and beyond, we prioritize always seeking your best interests and taking proactive measures to achieve your goals in Long Branch, Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant, Stafford, Ocean Township, Holmdel, and across Monmouth and Ocean County.
Let us help you with powerful tools, negotiation, litigation, and insights into family law actions and divorce actions in New Jersey. Call our law firm at (732) 812-3102 or reach out to us via message. Our attorneys are pleased to assist you and consultations are always provided free of costs.
What Types of Cases Require the Use of Interrogatories?
In family courts, interrogatories can be used for many kinds of cases related to divorce and custody issues. Their categories include but are not limited to divorce, the standard of living during the marriage, lifestyle, training, vocation, and education to determine employability, general information, business interests (ownership or investment), custody-related issues, and cause of action. Additionally, visitation, asset values, retirement plans, and other financial information.
Purpose of Interrogatories in NJ Family Law Cases
The interrogatories are used to glean information from the other party and prevent one side or the other from being ambushed with the material of which they were unaware. It is a way of leveling the playing field, so to speak. It allows each side full disclosure to best present their case while planning a proper defense for arguments made by the other side. Your attorney must tailor the questions you submit to your ex-spouse to your specific needs. For example, if you want to focus on alimony, questions should be constructed around their perceived role in the relationship, assets, education, and work possibilities.
One of the important reasons for interrogatories is to find out what evidence and lines of inquiry the other side uses for their case. Frequently, one spouse is in charge of the finances and has access to the assets and their value. Interrogatories are a way to obtain all the financial information you were not privy to during the marriage. They are also a way to flush out any hidden bank accounts or properties of which you were unaware. Suppose you are a spouse who has had control of the assets. In that case, interrogatories are the perfect way to provide full disclosure of all financial information and avoid being accused of hiding something.
Time Frame to Submit Requested Information in an Interrogatory
According to court rules, the answers must be turned in within 60 of receiving the interrogatories. Of course, your attorney will want to go over your answers with you to submit them in the final form, so it is best to have them ready for review within a month.
How Do I Go About Answering Interrogatories?
It is essential to answer all questions as clearly and thoroughly as possible. If you cannot answer a particular question, you certainly do not want to make up an answer. Your attorney will be able to help you provide as accurate an answer as possible. If you don’t answer a question (or more) and the other side later discovers you did, in fact, know the answer, it could be argued that you purposefully withheld information to reap benefits from the outcome. Moreover, if the judge senses that you are deceptive, they will be reticent to trust you on other matters.
You can, however, refuse to answer questions that call for legal conclusions. For example, if you are asked, “Did you marry your spouse for money?” That is not something you can or should be expected to answer. When you object to a question, you need to give a written explanation of why you object. Also, any questions that aren’t related to the matter at hand don’t need an answer, but again, you must write why you object to those questions. If the other side disagrees with your objections and subsequent justifications, they can file a motion to compel, requesting that the judge decide whether or not those questions should be answered.
It may be that you do not have some of the information to answer some of the data-specific questions, such as retirement fund balances and the value of certain assets. But those facts can be obtained by you by contacting your broker or having other assets appraised. You can’t simply say that you do not know the answer when it can be reasonably easy to obtain.
Is it Possible to Add Information Once My Interrogatory Has Been Submitted?
One would hope your statement would be ready, complete, and 100% honest when submitted, but to err is human, and mistakes happen. If you have something to add, rescind, or explain in more detail, your lawyer can amend the interrogatory. Again, completing the interrogatory as thoroughly as possible is essential because changes or conflicting testimony at trial could damage your credibility with the court.
Contact Long Branch Attorneys Assisting with Divorce and Family Law Interrogatories
The discovery process can seem insurmountable and tedious, but it is necessary. At the Bronzino Law Firm, we can help you gather the information you need to respond accurately to the questions posed. Our experienced lawyers can talk about your answers, make sure what you want to say is correctly and clearly expressed, and ensure you know how to confidently fill out the final form with your answers to relieve some of the added stress this kind of procedure can create.
Our South Jersey law firm has a passion for helping people like you to go through the divorce process step by step. Your unique needs and concerns will always be addressed. You need someone who will stand by you, keeping you informed as things progress. We have helped clients with all of their issues in Family Court cases in Wall, Mantoloking, Manasquan, Rumson, Lavallette, Neptune, Freehold, and across Monmouth and Ocean County.
Now is the time to take control. Call our offices at (732) 812-3102 for a free and confidential consultation.