New Jersey residents undergoing or anticipating a divorce will usually be required to submit information establishing the income and assets that are a part of the marital estate. Occasionally, one party may not want to release all of the possibly-relevant financial disclosures to their opponent, as such information can be used to illegitimately hurt the other party in some instances. The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court recently issued a decision in the case Martin-Cattie v. Cattie, Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division, Docket # A-1519-21, enforcing a subpoena against a divorce defendant’s employer for the production of retirement account information.

The plaintiff in the recently decided case is a woman who filed for a divorce from the defendant in 2016. As part of a mediated and stipulated settlement agreement, the defendant agreed to supply the plaintiff with certain pieces of information concerning the value of his retirement assets that were being managed by his employer. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant’s attorney requested and received the information from the defendant’s employer but never supplied it to the plaintiff’s attorney. The plaintiff’s attorney was unable to obtain the data directly from the defendant’s employer and sought leave from the court to issue a subpoena to the employer to compel the production of the documents.
The superior court denied the plaintiff’s request, ruling that the plaintiff had waived their right to enforce the document order by waiting too long after it was issued to seek production of the documents. The plaintiff appealed the ruling to the Appellate Division, where the plaintiff’s arguments were ultimately accepted. The Appellate Division determined that the plaintiff had sought to enforce the document production within the permitted time under the order, that the request’s failure was the fault of the defendant’s employer and attorney, and that the plaintiff certainly didn’t waive their right to access the requested documents. As a result of the recent Appellate Division ruling, the Defendant will be forced to cooperate with the plaintiff and their employer to have the requested documents produced and handed over to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff may be entitled to an equitable share of any assets revealed through the information request.

Are You Anticipating a Divorce?

If you or a close friend or family member is anticipating or going through a divorce, you may be entitled to a substantial sum of money that you don’t even know exists at this time. Many partners are secretive with their money, and when marital problems arise, the higher-earning partner often conceals or moves money in an effort to keep possession unfairly in the event of a divorce. Divorcing parties are legally entitled to access the financial information of their spouse before and during the divorce process, but exercising that right often takes work, especially if the partner is actually trying to be deceptive and hide money. If you see a divorce in your future, reach out to a qualified New Jersey family law attorney with Scully Family Law. For a free consultation, reach out through our website or give us a call at 732-462-1122 today.