Articles Tagged with discovery

Divorce is a life-altering event. For many it is an emotionally charged situation. The person you had loved and intended to share a life with is now someone who you consider your “enemy” – 6821f1126a34f02c8e256da1560d1e52-300x200viewing them from indifference to hatred. Any sense of trust has gone out the window. For some, notwithstanding the breakdown of the marriage, they sincerely want to resolve their marital issues amicably and in a fair and reasonable manner. However, for a significant number the raw emotions at the outset of the marital breakup seem to engender a need to “screw” the other person as much as possible. Depending upon your position in the relationship, you either want to “milk” the other spouse for all you can get, or want to pay the other as little as possible. One spouse may feel the need to “protect” one’s assets or income in some fashion from the claims of the other. One spouse may suspect that the other is hiding assets or diminishing income. In many cases, these feelings are borne out of the mistrust which exists and are not occurring in reality. However, in others these feelings or suspicions have some basis in fact. Claims of concealed or diminished income aside, this blog post will focus instead on concerns over the possibility of concealed or hidden assets in divorce, and provides a brief overview of what to look for and how to address them when such issues arise.

In divorce matters, New Jersey law provides for the equitable distribution of assets and property legally or beneficially acquired during the course of the parties’ marriage. In order to do so, marital assets first need to be identified, then they need to be valued, and after which they are to be distributed “equitably”. Unless the property was acquired by gift or inheritance from a third-party, it generally does not matter how or in whose name the assets or property was acquired if it was acquired during the marriage. Hence, if a divorce client suggests that because an asset or property is in his or her name alone the other spouse has no right to it or even to know about it, that person needs to be cleansed of that view right off the bat. Furthermore, if a divorce client tells his or her attorney about “secret assets”, the attorney/client privilege may not shield them from disclosure since the attorney code of ethics prohibits an attorney from facilitating a client engaging in fraudulent conduct or offering knowingly false testimony or statements under oath.

What if a divorce client suspects that his or her spouse has been secreting or hiding assets? Besides inquiring as to the basis for these suspicions, an attorney should obtain from the client their perception of the commencement date of any serious marital difficulties or their sense of when certain suspicious financial activity began, such as changes in the manner finances were being handled, records were maintained, or information shared. In most divorce cases, you usually ask for five years worth of financial records in discovery. However, if the suspicious financial activity has been ongoing for longer than five years, one should extend the time for which discovery is sought.

I recently attended a seminar where the topic concerned the obtaining, analysis and use of medical records. While the main focus was how medical records were dealt with in civil litigation matters such as medical malpractice and personal injury cases, it was clear that a number of the issues discussed could apply to Family Court matters as well. A spouse may allege that they are unable to work, or may be limited in what type of work they can do, as a result of some sort of medical or psychological condition or disability, thereby impacting a claim for spousal and/or child support. A spouse may allege that they suffered physical and/or emotional injury as a result of an act or course of abuse by the other spouse leading to a claim for damages in an action for domestic tort. Continue reading ›

It is hard to believe that the end of summer is fast approaching. Whether you consider the beginning of summer to be Memorial Day weekend or the 4th of July, it still seems like it was only yesterday. How time flies. Besides shorter days, cooler nights, school commencing, and packing away the swim suits, the end of summer ushers in another tradition which members of the legal community can look forward to – the Amendments to the New Jersey Court Rules. Gavel & book Continue reading ›

When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually tell them I am a “divorce” lawyer.  While much of this firm’s practice is devoted to representing clients either getting divorced, handling issues incident to a divorce, or addressing disputes which may arise post-divorce (i.e. modification, enforcement of obligations and the like), over the years this firm has often been called upon to handle a growing number of disputes between non-married parties.  Among these claims arising from “family-type” relationships are those involving child custody and parenting time, property rights, child support and “palimony”. Hence, it is more accurate to described myself as a “family law” attorney as our firm’s website so references.   Continue reading ›

Approximately one year ago, my colleague wrote a blog post raising awareness and spreading concern about how the communications and content found on one’s social media could potentially be used against them in a variety of ways in Court.  It is no big surprise that with the explosion of social media and the countless ways individuals can communicate in an ever evolving world of technology that those communications are being monitored for potential use in litigation. Continue reading ›

V. Stiviano, the former mistress of former Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, is being sued by his wife of over 50 years, Rochelle Sterling.  In her suit, Mrs. Sterling is seeking the return of gifts that Mr. Sterling purportedly gave to Ms. Stiviano.  Among the gifts Stiviano apparently received are a $1.8 million home, a Ferrari, two Bentleys and a Range Rover.  Mrs. Sterling claims that these gifts were purchased with the parties’ joint monies without her consent. Continue reading ›

883985_business_lawRecently trial Judge L.R. Jones, J.S.C., an effective and prolific writer, explored the procedures to be followed when pursuing a default judgment.  If a defendant does not file an answer or appearance within the thirty-five days after a divorce complaint is filed and lawfully served upon him or her, the plaintiff may file a request to enter default. Continue reading ›

     The decision to seek a divorce is often difficult and painful.   There is uncertainty about your future and possibly your children’s futures, and you may likewise be uncertain about what the Family Court process actually entails with regard to getting a divorce.   Described below is a very brief outline of the matrimonial litigation process:

1409593_gavel_31.  The Complaint for Divorce

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