What Are Interrogatories?
Interrogatories are written questions which must be answered in writing and under oath.
Are the Interrogatories Necessary in Every Case?
It is normally our practice to require Interrogatories in every case even if it is an uncontested case.
If we represent the spouse who has not had access to the assets or finances of the marriage, the answers to Interrogatories are one way that we can obtain a disclosure of the marital assets and protect you in the event your spouse has concealed or failed to disclose assets. If, for example, you subsequently learn that your spouse concealed a bank account from you, the court probably would not reopen the matter and allow you to receive your share of that asset if you did not serve Interrogatories.
If we represent the spouse who has had control of the assets, a full disclosure of the assets protects you against a future attempt to modify the Agreement or Judgment on the basis that you concealed assets.
Is There a Time Limit Within Which I Must Supply the Answers?
The Court Rules require that you supply the answers within 60 days after you receive the Interrogatories. When we send the Interrogatories to you, we will normally ask for your answers within 3 days to allow us an additional 30 days to review the answers, meet with you to discuss them if necessary, and prepare and submit the answers in final form.
How Accurate Must My Answers to the Family Law Interrogatories Be?
It is extremely important that your answers be as complete and accurate as possible.
If the information is not known to you or you are estimating, that should be clearly indicated in your answer. The law requires that you provide not only information which is actually within your possession, but also information which you have the ability to obtain. For example, if you do not have the most recent statement from your pension plan, but can obtain it from your employer, you are obligated to make the inquiry and obtain it from your employer.
If you fail to disclose any asset or information, the consequences can be severe. For example:
If your answers to the Interrogatories are different than or inconsistent with your testimony at the time of trial, you will be cross-examined on the inconsistency, and you credibility may be significantly affected.
If you omit information (for example, the name of a witness) you may be prevented from presenting the information or having that witness testify at the time of trial.
What If I Discover Additional Information, or I Find New Witnesses or Information After I Have Answered the Interrogatories?
It is extremely important that you call such things to our attention so that we may amend your answers to include the new information.
Often, information that was not available to you, that you overlooked, or that you simply did not recall at the time of your original answers can appear to your spouse’s attorney or the judge to be a deliberate withholding of information which can have a significant adverse impact on your case.
We will do everything we can to amend your answers to Interrogatories. However, it is equally important that you assist us by calling any changes to our attention.