Your NJ Divorce from Case Management to Discovery
Allow our Passaic County Divorce Lawyers to guide you down the road of divorce and help build a new future.
In the last article of our New Jersey divorce series, we discussed contested vs. uncontested divorces and the relevance of this distinction when determining the path that is best suited for your divorce proceedings. We delineated among the various venues available to you as you undergo the divorce process, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, collaborative divorce, and the traditional litigation route. For the purposes of this series, we will focus on the traditional path through a divorce in New Jersey, which provides many opportunities for negotiation and settlement along the way. If no agreement can be reached, it culminates in a trial.
Preparing for Your Next Phase
To ensure the best chance of success as you move forward, it is essential to thoroughly prepare yourself and provide your attorney with as much relevant information about your life as possible. This comprehensive vision will allow him or her to position you for the most favorable outcomes as it relates to property division, alimony, child custody, child support, and other issues. The documents you may need to accomplish this task range from personal (i.e., driver’s license, social security card); to financial (i.e., bank account and credit card statements, tax returns); insurance-related (i.e., homeowners, automobile, life, medical), and legal (i.e., restraining orders, prenuptial agreements).
The Case Management Conference
The aforementioned documents will become essential during the next phases of the divorce process. Following your initial divorce filing and your spouse’s response (or vice versa), the court will schedule a case management conference. There are several purposes of the case management conference. First, it provides your attorney with the opportunity to assess where you stand about your spouse on critical issues. Second, it allows the court to set and formalize deadlines for the discovery period, including exchanges of documents, appraisals, and expert evaluations.
The Discovery Process
The discovery process will begin after the case management conference and is subject to the deadlines set therein. During the discovery phase, the parties exchange documents related to finances and assets and other important issues. The marital home and other properties may be appraised. Experts may be called upon to provide valuable insight into relevant topics of discussion, such as child custody, shared businesses, or complex investments.
New Jersey Court Rule 5:5-1 outlines the other components of the discovery phase of divorcee interrogatories, depositions, and requests for admissions. These items are explained in more detail below.
- Interrogatories: written questions formally put to one party by the other party that must be answered. These may involve finances, assets, or any other information relevant to divorce negotiations.
- Depositions: questions posed to you, your spouse, an expert, or another witness while under oath. The testimony provided must be related to divorce-related issues and may be used during settlement discussions.
- Requests for admissions: formal requests or statements provided by either party.
Little Falls NJ Divorce Lawyers Hear to Eliminate Confusion and Set Goals for the Future
The discovery phase lays the groundwork for discussions between each of your attorneys to reach an agreement within the time frame fixed by the court. If no agreement can be reached during this period, your case will proceed to the Early Settlement Panel, which we will thoroughly examine in our next article.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more analysis of the New Jersey divorce process or contact our offices in Little Falls at 973.233.4396 to speak with one of our highly knowledgeable New Jersey divorce attorneys, or fill out an online contact form to schedule an init. Consultations are always provided free of charge.