If I Am Seeking Alimony In My New Jersey Divorce, What Questions Will I Be Asked?
New Jersey’s alimony statute provides both lawyers and judges a number of factors to consider in order to deduce a term and amount of alimony that is fair and equitable to both parties. These factors include, but are not limited to, the length of the marriage, each respective spouses age and health, how much income does each spouse have the ability to make, how long has a party been absent from the workplace, to name a few.
In a hotly contested divorce in which alimony is a looming issue, your attorney should investigate the “standard of living” that the parties’ enjoyed during the marriage. The goal here is to ensure that each spouse shall be able to sustain a somewhat similar standard of living. Furthermore, lawyers and family law judges strive to create an alimony situation that would prevent either spouse from having a “greater entitlement” to that standard of living than the other spouse.
In order for your attorney to get a complete understanding of the standard of living you enjoyed during the marriage, a comprehensive list of questions, known as Interrogatories, are served upon the other spouses’ lawyer. As you review the questions below, you shall find how greatly detailed this type of examination can be.
If facing a divorce that may involve your either receiving or paying alimony, please never hesitate to contact my office. Thank you.
LAW OFFICES OF EDWARD R. WEINSTEIN, LLC
Weinstein Professional Building
214 Highway 18 North, Suite 2A
East Brunswick, New Jersey 08816
Attorneys for Defendant, JOHN DOE
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
CHANCERY DIVISION – FAMILY PART
DOCKET NO.: FM-
STANDARD OF LIVING
BE ANSWERED BY PLAINTIFF
TO: Benjamin Cardozo, Esq.
124 Route 18
East Brunswick, New Jersey 08816
Attorney for Plaintiff, JANE DOE
Demand is hereby made by the Defendant, JOHN DOE, of the Plaintiff, JANE DOE, to provide answers, under oath or certification to the following Standard of Living Interrogatories within the time and in the manner prescribed by the Rules of this Court.
LAW OFFICES OF EDWARD R. WEINSTEIN, LLC
Attorneys for and on behalf of the Defendant
BY: Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
A. When answering the following Interrogatories, provide any and all information either in your possession, under your control, within your dominion or available to you, regardless of whether this information is in your personal possession or possessed by your agents, servants, employees, representatives or others with whom you have a relationship and from whom you are capable of deriving information, documents or material.
B. If any Interrogatory is not answered in full, state the precise reason for failing to complete the answer. The answer "not applicable" is not acceptable. If a legal objection is made with respect to any Interrogatory, you should set forth the specific reason for such objection. If only a portion of an Interrogatory cannot or will not be answered, provide the fullest answer to the Interrogatory and thereafter specifically set forth (a) the fact that the answer is incomplete and (b) the reason or grounds for any omission and/or refusal to complete.
C. All Interrogatories require an answer even if the context of the question seeks only an affirmative response and the response you intend is not affirmative. Thus, if any answer is left blank, it shall be deemed to be "none."
D. All headnotes in the within Interrogatories are for reference only and are not intended to qualify or limit context of any question appearing thereunder.DEFINITIONS
As used herein the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
1. "Document" shall mean the original and any copy, regardless of origin or location, of any book, pamphlet, periodical, letter, memorandum, telegram, report, records, study, handwritten note, working paper, chart, photograph, index, tape data sheet or data processing card or any other written, recorded, transcribed, punched, taped, filmed or graphic matter, however produced or reproduced, to which you have had access.
2. The term "reliance" includes any use of such documents including but not limited to, the following:
(i) Reference to any such document by any witness as a basis for establishing any fact upon which reliance is made; or
(ii) Reference to any such document by any expert witness as a basis for his opinion; or
(iii) Introduction into evidence for any purpose; or
(iv) Reference to any such document by any witness or by your attorney for the purpose of cross-examination, to refresh the recollection of a witness, to impeach the credibility of any witness or for any other purpose.
3. "Person" shall mean all individuals and entities including but not limited to natural persons, sole proprietorships, firms, associations, companies, partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, trusts and estates, governmental agencies and legal or investment advisors. The term "Person" may be set in lower case throughout the Instructions, Definitions and Interrogatories.
4. "Oral Communication" shall mean any utterance heard by another person, whether in person, by telephone or otherwise.
5. "Identify" when used in reference to an individual person shall mean state his full name, residence address, present or last known position and business affiliation and his position and business affiliation at the time in question.
"Identify" when used in reference to a corporation shall mean state its full name and the address of its principal office.
All requests to "identify" any document require the answer to include a description of each document, a summary of the content thereof, the name of each person, firm, corporation or other entity signing or executing the same and the date thereof. If the document is commercially printed or published, the name and address of the printer or publisher are required. Any document containing images (i.e. charts, photographs, etc.) shall contain a description thereof.
6. The term "You" or "Your" refers to the Plaintiff, Choon Hee, and shall mean any of her consultants, experts, officers, former officers, agents, former agents, employees, former employees, assignees or successors, parent organizations, affiliates, or subsidiaries, or any and all other persons or entities acting on his behalf or with her authorization. The term "You" or "Your" may be set in lower case throughout the General Instructions, Definitions and Interrogatories.
7. The term “Defendant” as used herein refers to JOHN DOE.
8. The term “Plaintiff” as used herein refers to JANE DOE.STANDARD OF LIVING INTERROGATORIES
1. For all real estate owned by the Plaintiff or your spouse, set forth:
- A. Date purchased
- B. Mortgage balance
- C. In whose name deed is titled
- D. Description or property
- E. Appraised value, if known
- F. Fair market value
- G. Purchased price
- H. Original down payment
2. Set forth information regarding any timeshare property(ies) owned during the marriage, including but not limited to the following:
- A. When purchased
- B. For what purpose
- C. Source of funds used to purchase and down payment
- D. Amount mortgaged
- E. If mortgage, set forth the current balance
- F. How much time purchased and for what interval
- G. How often timeshare was used and by whom
3. As to any motor vehicles the Plaintiff drives, your spouse drives and/or your unemancipated children drive, set forth:
- A. The year, make and model of your last three (3) vehicles
- B. State how often a vehicle is replaced with a new vehicle
- C. State how many miles each drive in your home drives per year
- D. Attached a copy of the insurance policy covering each vehicle
- E. Who pays for the maintenance for each vehicle and how is it paid for
- F. Are gasoline credit cards utilized and who pays the bill
4. Provide a complete inventory of the contents of the marital home costing in excess of $500.00, their purchase price, date or purchase and how paid, together with copy of the appraisals, if applicable, including but not limited to the following:
- A. Fine China
- B. Crystal
- C. Ceramics
- D. Paintings
- E. Vases
- F. Chandeliers
- G. Collections (total value of each collection costing or having a fair market value in excess of $500.00)
- H. Furniture or furnishings
- I. Televisions
- J. Electronics
5. State how often the Plaintiff vacationed during the marriage, including but not limited to the following:
- A. Where
- B. When
- C. Length of time
- D. Companions on each vacation
- E. Means of transportation
- F. Average price paid for each vacation
- G. Purchases made while on vacation
- H. How vacation was paid for and by whom
6. State the name, address and telephone number of the Plaintiff’s travel agent.
7. State whether you or your spouse have ever vacationed at a casino resort, such as Atlantic City, New Jersey, Las Vegas Nevada, or any other gambling resort. If so, please state the following:
- A. Name and address of most frequented casinos
- B. Name and address of hotels
- C. Who accompanied you on these trips
- D. Average winnings and/or losses
- E. Cost
- F. Value of comps
8. If the Plaintiff has ever employed a housekeeper, cleaning person, or other household help, set forth dates employed, frequency of work, how much they were paid and whether this service was paid by cash or check.
If current employment, set forth the name and address of the employee.
9. Set forth the names and addresses of all care providers for the children, including but not limited to daytime sitters, evening sitters and/or overnight sitters. How often each is employed, how much they are paid and whether this service is paid by cash or check.
10. Set forth whether any type of Nanny or Au Pair was ever utilized for the children during the marriage. If so, set forth the following:
- A. Annual or monthly costs.
- B. Whether live-in or daytime.
- C. Whether the Nanny/Au Pair accompanied the family on vacations. If so, set forth the average additional costs.
11. Provide the name of the Plaintiff’s lawn service, gardener, landscaper, pool service, or other specialty service, and include the following:
- A. Copy of contract
- B. How the services are paid for
- C. Who pays for the services rendered
- D. Frequency of work
12. State name, address and telephone number of the people who maintain the home, including but not limited to interior and exterior painting, power washing, chimney maintenance, roofing, or other maintenance of repair contracted service regularly utilized for the care of the home.
13. Set forth, per month or year and how much is spent for clothing for each family member, including but not limited to the following:
- A. Description of the clothing purchased if any article cost in excess of $150.00
- B. In what stores is the clothing purchased
14. Set forth how often custom made clothing is purchased for you or your family and how much is spent per item of clothing on a yearly basis
15. Set forth all furs and other outside garment costing in excess of $500.00. For each garment, set forth (a) where purchased (b) how paid for (c) whether insured (attached policy).
16. Describe each and every credit card or other type of charge account utilized by you and/or each member of your family, the average monthly charge and the items and services normally charged.
17. State the number of times per week you dine outside the home, the restaurants you frequent most regularly, how much you spend to dine out per week and whether you pay be credit card or cash. If you take other people with you to dine, do you pay for their meals or beverages?
18. Set forth the amount of the Plaintiff’s weekly grocery bill. Do you purchase your meats from a butcher, seafood store or bakery? From what stores do you purchase these items?
19. State the name, address and telephone number of any country clubs of which the Plaintiff is a member.
- A. State how long you have been a member of each club
- B. If any family members take lessons at the club, set forth the costs and the lessons taken
- C. Do you entertain guests at the club? If so, how frequently? Set forth the costs for guests.
- D. As a member of each club named, is there a minimum yearly bar or restaurant expenditure required, if so, how much?
- E. How much is expended yearly at the club other than membership and lessons?
- F. Cost of dues
- G. Bonds posted
20. State the average monthly telephone bill for each phone line in your home for the past two (2) years.
- A. For each extension line, state the services provided on each.
- B. Set forth any DSL or other internet connections and costs.
21. State the average yearly expenditure made for jewelry by the Plaintiff or your spouse during the marriage.
- A. Describe the jewelry purchased during the marriage over $500.00.
- B. How was the jewelry paid for?
- C. Is the jewelry insured? If so, attach a copy of the policy
- D. Have you and/or your family purchased jewelry as a gift for any friends and/or relatives?
22. State how frequently the Plaintiff entertained during the marriage. Describe the last five parties given at the home, include how many guests, food served, whether catered or made at home, estimated costs for each function and how the function was paid for.
23. How often did you do things for entertainment with the family, i.e. movies, bowling, skiing, amusement parks, etc? Set forth how much was spent for each activity on average per month.
24. State the average amount of gifts purchases by any member of the family of any value. What was the gift for and for whom the gift was purchased? Are gifts purchased only for special occasion or at different times during the year. How are the gifts paid for?
25. Set forth the average amount of money spent on the children for Christmas/Hanukkah during the marriage.
26. If you or your spouse are self-employed, are any personal purchases or expenses paid through the business? If so, specify each and their cost and for how long the business/company had been paying for the purchases and expenses delineated.
27. Set forth any and all professional advisors utilized during the marriage, including but not limited to, insurance agents/advisors, investment advisors, accountants, etc. Provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each.
28. As to #27, set forth the dates each advisors’ services were utilized, for what purpose and the cost.
29. State the name, address and telephone number of private schools attended by each of your children, including but not limited to the following:
- A. Tuition
- B. Cost of books, uniforms or incidental expenses
- C. Cost of housing and utilities
30. State the name, address and telephone number of the camps attended by each of your children, including but not limited to the following:
- A. Cost
- B. Length of time
- C. Program provided
- D. Dates
31. State whether you, your spouse or children engage in sports such as boating, skiing, golf, setting forth the Following:
- A. Annual cost of such activity
- B. How often attended
- C. Equipment purchased
32. State whether you or your spouse donate to charities. If so, state the name and address of each charity, annual contribution and whether you claim this charity as a tax write off at the time of the filing of your state and/or federal income tax returns.
33. Do you and/or your spouse belong to a church, temple or other religious organization? If so, what contributions or pledges are made on an annual basis?
34. State whether the Plaintiff regularly attends the theater, ballet or opera. If so, set forth the following:
- A. How often
- B. Annual expenditure
- C. How paid
35. Set forth any special medical, dental, orthodonture, plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, contact lenses, institutionalization or other medical expenditures, not covered by insurance, that have been incurred during the marriage. If so, set forth the following:
- A. Procedure
- B. When incurred
- C. Who incurred such expense
- D. Cost for procedure
- E. How paid for
36. State whether you and/or your spouse regularly subscribe to any newspapers or magazines subscriptions. If so, state the following:
- A. Name of subscription
- B. Cost of subscription
- C. How often received
37. Do you pay your children an allowance? If so, please state the following:
- A. Age allowance began
- B. How much
- C. How often
38. Set forth the expenses for the family unit for hairdressers and professional beauty treatments, such as memberships to spas, including but not limited to the following services:
- A. Hair cuts
- B. Massages
- C. Facials
- D. Makeovers
- E. Tanning
39. Provide yearly bank deposits for Christmas Clubs, Individual Retirement Accounts, Money Markets and College Funds, setting forth the following:
- A. Date commenced
- B. Amount deposited
- C. Current balance
- D. Date of anticipated maturity
40. State whether or not amounts of cash in excess of $500.00 are in the home at any given time. If so, state the following:
- A. When
- B. Where located
- C. How much
I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.