What Are Interrogatories and Do I Have to Answer Them?

Family Law

During a divorce proceeding you will be confronted with countless forms and questions provided to you by your own attorney or your spouses’. These papers tend to become overwhelming during what is known as the discovery process. This discovery period allows for each party to request and gather critical information regarding the status of each party. This time allows your Orlando Divorce Attorney to gather evidence building a strong case to present before the court. However, this process is strictly regulated by Florida statute. The Florida Rules of Family Law Procedure rule 12.340, sets forth very exact time lines, numbers of questions, and boundaries for what may be requested of the other party. These are requirements that must be strictly adhered to when requesting or responding to family discovery requests. Knowing these rules is imperative to acquiring the necessary evidence that is needed to successfully present your family law case to the court. In order to receive the evidence that you are legally entitled to, there are various avenues that the Orlando Divorce Attorneys at The Virga Law Firm can utilize to ensure that the opposite party is forthcoming.

One of the most common discovery tools you will see in your case are interrogatories. Until 1997 interrogatories were mandatory. Presently, attorneys use these questions to supplement information provided in the financial affidavit. Therefore, interrogatories may be used in any family law case, whether an initial or modification proceeding. These interrogatories are a list of written questions filed with the court and served on you or the opposing party. Once served on the party you have a 30 day window to answer, in writing, and return to the opposing party. Rule 12.340 requires “all answers to these questions be made under oath or affirmation as to their truthfulness. Each question must be answered separately and as completely as the available information permits.” Therefore, if either party does not comply in truthfulness or completeness, there may be legal ramifications.

However, there are some limitations to these questions as well. First, the questions must be relevant to the case. A party may not be required to answer any questions deemed irrelevant to the present legal issues being decided. If irrelevant your attorney can make an objection, resulting in your ability not to answer. However, courts have held relevancy to be a very broad term and difficult to decipher. Therefore, the judge is given discretion to compel questions to be answered. It is important to discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney any questions that you may feel are irrelevant. Finally, you must answer all questions fully and honestly. You will sign and swear to these answers before filing with the court. This legally binds you to these answers and if found to be inaccurate, you may be held legally responsible.

Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will be able to explain in detail each step and work through every question with you. Whether creating a list of questions, or drafting answers to interrogatories you have been served with, use the extensive knowledge of your Orlando Divorce Attorney to assist you with the process. Contact The Virga Law Firm today at 800-822-5170 and schedule your consultation. Our firm also serves Panama City, Fort Walton, Pensacola and Navarre Florida.

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