What are Family Law Interrogatories?
Discovery is a key part of many family law cases. Through discovery, parties to a dispute are able to seek and obtain relevant evidence, that they can use to make their case. There are many different discovery ‘tools’ available for you and your attorney to use to obtain evidence. One of the most important discovery tools is an interrogatory.
Simply put, an interrogatory is a set of written questions that parties to a dispute are compelled to answer under oath. When you use them properly, interrogatories can help you build a strong family law case. In this post, our top-rated Orlando family law attorney explains how interrogatories work under Florida’s family law rules.
Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure: Interrogatories
The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure establishes certain standards for how interrogatories should be handled by each party. Specifically, Rule 12.340 governs the use of interrogatories in a family law case. The following is a list of five of the most important thing you need to know about these rules:
- Interrogatories can only be used during discovery: It worth highlighting that interrogatories are a discovery tool. This is an important distinction to make because it means that they cannot be sent until a family case has actually been filed in a Florida court. Interrogatories only have the force of law once you are in the discovery process.
- The written questions must be relevant to your case: You are only allowed to ask questions to the other party that are actually relevant to your legal case. If you receive an interrogatory with an irrelevant question, you are allowed to object and to refuse to answer that question.
- Legitimate questions must be answered fully and honestly: If a question is legitimate, parties have a legal duty to provide a full and honest answer. Deception, including misrepresentation by omission, can result in sanctions being applied by a Florida family law judge.
- Parties can object to unfair questions: You have the right to object to any questions that are unfair. The most common reason for objection is that a question is irrelevant. Though, there are many other reasons that can justify an objection. If you have valid grounds to object to a question, you have the right to leave it unanswered.
- A Florida family law judge can compel a party to answer a written question: Of course, parties do not get the final say in determining which questions are fair or unfair. If you send out an interrogatory, and the other party objects to an important question, you can ask the judge to order that party to answer the question.
Get Help Drafting or Answering Family Law Interrogatories
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., we have extensive experience drafting and preparing answers to family law interrogatories. No matter what you are going through, we are committed to providing you with the high quality legal services that you deserve. Please call us today at 407-521-7171 to schedule your fully confidential case evaluation. We represent family law clients in the City of Orlando and throughout Orange County, Florida.