After initial documents are filed, the divorce will be given a case number, and each spouse’s attorney will be given a specific amount of time to conduct what the court calls the “discovery” period. Every divorce is different, and depending on whether a custody hearing will be held, the discovery period could be longer or shorter.
The New Jersey courts try their best to keep divorces from lasting much over a year’s time. However, when there is much to dispute or a lot of discovery is necessary (if there was a business shared, or if there are many assets or debts to be divided, for example), it is not uncommon for a divorce to last longer than a year. Which is why its best to be as cooperative as possible; its in everyone’s best interest to have the proceedings not last longer than they need to.
A “case information statement” is provided by each spouse, which details the status of his or her financials. The household budget, projected financial needs of dependents, bank account information, property values, income (current and projected), and all bills and debts (totaled), will be have to be given over to your attorneys. This information will help determine income needed to cover both spouses’ projected expenses, and help determine if there will be a shortage once “real income” is applied.
There are cases when a party isn’t totally aware of the financial details of their household because their spouse typically handled all the financial decisions. In this scenario discovery tools are used to make sure both parties have all the information necessary.
If your divorce requires more discovery than is typical, you may choose to have your spouse or other individuals deposed (give their sworn statement) as to the status of financials. There are also divorces where discovery ventures beyond the case information document, and property appraisals, evaluations by psychologists, etc must be acquired.