Family Law Interrogatories
Florida Family Law Attorney
All parties to a family law proceeding must complete certain paperwork that provides necessary information to the other party and to the court. However, if one party still has questions, he or she may request additional information through the submission of a set of questions, known as interrogatories. Both the person submitting the request and the party answering it must comply with certain rules and court procedures, which can be complex. If you are involved in a family-related legal proceeding, it is important to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney who can ensure that all appropriate forms are completed and submitted on time.
Types of Interrogatories
An interrogatory is a request for information, in the form of standard questions, that must be answered in writing and then notarized. In Florida, there are two types of interrogatories used in family law proceedings. One set is intended for newly filed cases or parties requesting enforcement of a prior judgement and is used to supplement the information already provided by the parties in the financial affidavit. The other set of interrogatories is used exclusively for post-judgment cases, including supplemental petitions for modifications of child support orders and parenting plans.
Necessary Procedures and Deadlines
The party submitting the interrogatories must file a copy of them with the circuit court in the county where the case was filed. The other party should then be served a copy of the interrogatories by hand delivery, mail, or email.
The questions must be answered in writing and officially served to the requesting party. The party returning the requested interrogatories should make sure that he or she:
- Numbers each page;
- Indicates which questions are being answered;
- Answers all questions truthfully and completely;
- Attests to the accuracy of the answers by having the document officially notarized;
- Provides the original version of the answers to the interrogatories to the requesting party; and
- Retains a copy of the request and the answers for himself or herself.
The answers to interrogatories need not be filed by with the clerk of the circuit court by either party, unless one or the other is ordered to do so by the judge. Interrogatories must be answered within a certain time period, generally thirty days. If the served party does not answer or object within the time limit, a judge has the discretion to order sanctions against the party.
The answering party is permitted to object to a question by stating the legal reason for the objection in the space provided. He or she may also request that a court grant a protective order giving him or her permission to be excused from answering certain questions in order to protect him or her from embarrassment, undue burden, or expense.
Obtaining all relevant information is a necessary part of any legal proceeding and is especially important when the matter involves a custody or divorce issue. If you are considering a divorce, disputing a child support order, seeking a modification of a parenting agreement, or are involved in any other family law matter, please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein to schedule an initial consultation.