In any New Jersey divorce, including a bed and board divorce, it can be hard for one spouse to know that he or she is in fact getting his or her fair share of all the assets to which the law entitles him or her.
The reason is that, in all too many cases, particularly in a high asset divorce, there may be a temptation on the part of one spouse to set aside some of his or her money in a private account or other investment so he or she will not have to share it in the ensuing property division. In other cases, simply because they have a lot of money between them, both spouses may honestly forget or be unaware of some of their wealth.
As with all civil cases, divorces in New Jersey are subject to the state’s discovery rules. In a nutshell, the discovery rules give those involved in a court case the power to get information from the other side of the case, as well as from third parties which may have relevant information or documentation that can later be used in a court proceeding.
The idea behind the process is to give people an opportunity to investigate and evaluate their respective cases well before a trial or court hearing. The process also prevents surprises and assures that the court is making a decision based on all the information available.
With respect to locating property, someone may want to use the discovery process to ask the other spouse about any hidden assets, as answers to discovery requests ordinarily are given under penalty of perjury. The process can also be used to verify information or get more details should a spouse be able to tie hidden wealth to a particular account or investment.
Applying the discovery rules effectively can be a complicated process. Specific questions about what discovery can and cannot accomplish are best directed to an experienced family law attorney.