What is a New Jersey Divorce Deposition?

A NJ divorce deposition may give you a better bargaining position, especially in a difficult divorce

In short, a divorce deposition in NJ is an interview in which either spouse is asked questions by the other spouse’s attorney. Like a trial, the questions are asked under oath, so they must be answered truthfully. Unlike a trial, the deposition doesn’t happen in a courtroom, but rather in a less formal setting such as the conference room at an attorney’s office.

A deposition is part of the discovery phase of a divorce, meaning that evidence is being collected by your divorce lawyer that may benefit you in areas from spousal support to parenting time. Your attorney will ask questions of your spouse, digging for answers and observing reactions. Your attorney may also request records and documents. Previously undisclosed information often comes up during a deposition, and it also gives your attorney a chance to find out what evidence your spouse’s attorney may have and to learn about potential witnesses.

Of course, if you are the spouse who is being deposed, your spouse’s attorney will be looking for responses and evidence that can benefit their client—your soon-to-be-ex. In either case, it is helpful to know what may be asked and how to be prepared.

Types of questions asked during a divorce deposition

Remember, the deposition is a way to uncover information that may affect many facets of your divorce. Areas of interest include:

      • Finances: A deposition is used to identify and place a value on marital property, concentrating on the finances of the marriage (asset and liabilities and each spouse’s financial situation). The attorney often asks for documents to support a testimony, including bank records, outstanding loans, mortgages, and any retirement account, stock, earnings or income, investment account or other pertinent financial information. Any previously unreleased information or “hidden” assets often come to light in the discovery process and will have a significant impact on court decisions regarding division of property, spousal support and child support.
      • Custody and childcare: Children and custody are often a matter of contention between a divorcing couple. During the deposition, it should be expected that questions will come up about who has been the primary caregiver, as well as questions regarding your child’s significant relationships with other family members, their school and education, their interests, their health and their friends. Attorneys will be looking for any information that will support their client’s goals while being within the court’s objectives of what is in the best interest of the child.
      • Recreational activities: This isn’t about whether one is hitting the gym five days a week or taking salsa dancing lessons. Instead, it is geared towards finding out about recreational activities that may impact children’s safety such as alcohol or substance abuse.
      • Specific incidents and dates: Anything that may have caused a spouse to file for divorce may be relevant here. This could include issues of infidelity or anything that may have jeopardized the well-being of the family, such as gambling. Whether it impacts custody or division of assets, it will be brought into question.
      • Health: If mental or physical health could have an impact on child custody or other issues related to the divorce, it will likely be included as a question in the deposition.

New Brunswick divorce attorney Steven M. Cytryn can guide you through the deposition process

It is common to feel more than a little trepidation about going through a deposition. That’s why we help prepare our clients for what to expect and do all we can to get them the best possible outcome. For more information about how we can help, please call us at (732) 214-1103 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our experienced divorce attorney.

Steven M. Cytryn
About the Author: Steven Cytryn
Steven M. Cytryn is the Managing Member of The Law Office of Steven M. Cytryn, LLC, and primarily focuses his practice on divorce and family law matters.