In this article, you will learn about:
- How interrogatories can assist payors and payees of spousal support.
- The benefits of working with an attorney who can use interrogatories strategically.
- The crucial role a third party can play in the deposition process.
What Are Interrogatories? When Should They Be Used In A Contested Divorce Case?
Interrogatories are, in a nutshell, a list of questions. They are very common tools used in many areas of the law – and especially in contested divorce cases.
In fact, the only reason not to use an interrogatory may be if:
- A client specifically asks our firm not to.
- Or, the financial issues in contest are so simple that an interrogatory is not needed.
In most contested divorces, the parties have significant income, properties, or assets. Therefore, it’s best to begin an exploration of these issues before you start the deposition process.
Interrogatories may include a line of questioning to discover how marital assets may have been used to grow a person’s net worth and opportunity. This can include everything from maritally-funded educational opportunities to the creation and growth of businesses.
You may find questions in an interrogatory similar to this:
- “Have you obtained a degree or a certification during your marriage?”
- “When did you obtain this degree or certification?”
- “Did you use any marital assets to obtain this degree or certification?”
- “What did this degree or certification do to enhance your career, if anything?”
- “Are you owed money by anyone that you did not disclose on your net worth statement?”
Alternatively, if the other spouse is seeking alimony, you could include questions to explore their job search efforts. In this, you can include requests for documentation of:
- Job offers
- Employer contact information
- And more . . .
This will allow you to verify their efforts and ensure that they are performing a diligent search for work.
Ultimately, if someone is claiming spousal maintenance, it’s their responsibility to use that resource as it is meant to be – bridging the gap between one’s marriage lifestyle & one’s after-divorce lifestyle. If the less-monied spouse is not actively looking for work, the more-monied spouse may need to ask that spousal support be limited moving forward.
Finally, interrogatory demands are an opportunity to ensure that a net worth statement includes complete information. Your divorce attorney can cross-check interrogatories with assets, properties, and debts to ensure that everything is accounted for.
Without this crucial step, it may be easy to lose out on essential assets, such as a recently closed bank account. For example, if an account was closed within the past 3-5 years, it will not be evident on a net worth statement. Net worth statements only evaluate current assets.
If a bank account was closed and those funds were moved offshore, it may be impossible to include those assets in a net worth valuation properly. Using an interrogatory is a great way to avoid this. By creating a situation where a party must give a sworn response, you can ensure that every asset is disclosed.
Can Third Parties Such As Business Partners, Colleagues Etc. Be Questioned Via Interrogatories In A Contested Divorce?
Nearly any outside party can be brought forth for information in the divorce process. This is done by issuing a subpoena to produce documentation, or for a third party deposition.
This is (almost always) done through an attorney. Your divorce lawyer will prepare two documents: a third party subpoena and a deposition notice. Next, your attorney will schedule a deposition with a court recorder and request the third party’s attendance. Finally, your attorney will schedule the party to be served with notice of the deposition.
A key factor to note: To do this, you must produce a witness fee and pay any travel expenses (pursuant to New York statutes).
For more information on Interrogatories In A NY Contested Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (347) 797-1188 | (914) 362-3080 today.