What Are Interrogatories in Divorce Cases? (And How to Use Them)

divorced couple

Divorce discovery is not obligatory but a commonly used step covered to get ready for to divorce process to the fullest extent possible. Interrogatories in divorce are of frequent use since they grant you better access to related evidence and information and allow you to assess the situation better. Look closer at the essence, reasons behind, and the process of divorce interrogatories and apply them to your case without hurdles if necessary.

What Is Interrogatories

Interrogatories are a type of divorce discovery that is used to get a clear picture of the divorce situation by gathering evidence and data through the specified process. The person who the interrogatories are directed to is expected to answer the provided questions under the oath. The information gained from the answers can later be used for a better understanding of the case and as direct proof of it.

Although the interrogatories are rarely included in fast divorce in Texas, if you aim at equitable outcomes and the best comfortable solution, you will find it worth spending the time and money.

Mind that the interrogatories are not the only way of a divorce discovery. Other types also include requests for production, requests for admissions, dispositions, and less popular options. All are directed at gaining extra information and recorded evidence to supplement your divorce picture. Yet, interrogatories are the easiest and the most straightforward variant. 

What are interrogatories?Interrogatories are written questions that one party in a divorce case sends to the other party. They are a type of discovery tool used to gather information and evidence about the case.
How are interrogatories used in divorce cases?Interrogatories are used to obtain information about a variety of topics related to the divorce, including finances, assets, debts, employment, and parenting arrangements. They are often used to gather evidence for use in court proceedings or settlement negotiations.
Who can use interrogatories?Either party in a divorce case can use interrogatories to request information from the other party. However, they are most commonly used by the party who is seeking information from the other party.
How many interrogatories can be sent?The number of interrogatories that can be sent varies by jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, there is a limit on the number of interrogatories that can be sent. In others, there is no limit.
How are interrogatories served?Interrogatories are typically served on the other party through a process server or by certified mail. The party receiving the interrogatories is required to respond within a specified period of time, usually 30 days.
What happens if a party does not respond to interrogatories?If a party does not respond to interrogatories, the other party can file a motion to compel, asking the court to order the party to respond. If the court orders the party to respond and they still do not do so, they may be subject to sanctions or penalties.
How should a party respond to interrogatories?A party should respond to interrogatories truthfully and completely. They should provide all requested information to the best of their ability. If they do not know the answer to a question, they should state that they do not know. If they object to a question, they should provide a reason for the objection.
Can interrogatory responses be used in court?Yes, interrogatory responses can be used as evidence in court. They may be used to support arguments or claims made by either party.
Are there any downsides to using interrogatories?One potential downside to using interrogatories is that they can be time-consuming and expensive. In addition, the party receiving the interrogatories may object to some or all of the questions, which can delay the discovery process.

Why Need Interrogatories

If you still hesitate about whether interrogatories are a necessary step in your marriage termination process, check out the common cases when are interrogatories filed in a divorce:

  1. To gain information – whether you need to know more about your partner’s finances, property details, living arrangements, and other relevant issues, interrogatories can help you gain all answers. You will get the information written and formatted properly to use as ready-made proof and important element in your case.
  2. To get ready for the trial – if there is to be a trial in your case, interrogatories can help you get ready better. You will get to know your spouse’s strong and weak points, get a better understanding of your position in the case, and even predict the strategy your partner may apply during the trial.
  3. To find out about witnesses and proof – when you gather information through the interrogatories it may be easier for you to identify what evidence and witnesses you may exploit to establish a strong position in the case. Plus, you will predict the proof and witnesses your spouse may exploit, too.
  4. To save time and money – interrogatories in divorce are quite a way to reduce time and money wasted on the process. By choosing the option you can save on avoiding other types of a divorce discovery which are usually more complicated. Additionally, with all the information gained through interrogatories, you can cover the divorce process faster having a deeper understanding of each other’s position in the situation. 

As soon as you understand that interrogatories suit your case and are going to bring you more benefits than waste, find time and follow a simple process to gain the information and evidence. 

How to Process Interrogatories

Providing that you cooperate well with your spouse within the divorce procedure, you will need to cover several simple steps to apply interrogatories in divorce and gain the expected outcomes:

  1. Draft the interrogatories – interrogatories are written questions that have to be answered by your spouse. So, your very first task is to draft some. The questions should be closely related to your case and expected to bring valuable information to you. You can ask a lawyer to assist you with the questions-compiling process or get your draft reviewed before you push it further. 
  2. Serve the interrogatories – once the questions are written in a defined form and reviewed, you have to serve them to your partner. You can send interrogatories via mail or deliver them personally. You should also consider local legal regulations on the serving process not to break any law on your way. 
  3. Get a response – after serving interrogatories your spouse will have a defined time to grant you a response (usually within 30 days after being served). The response form should be delivered under oath and signed. 
  4. Review the responses – after you get official responses from your partner, you have to review them carefully. Usually, you and your attorney will look closely through the answers to check them for the fullness and consistency of the information provided.
  5. Provide follow-up questions – if you think that answers are not provided fully or contain ambiguity, you can provide follow-up questions for your spouse to answer additionally. Consider, that many states limit the number of questions you can ask within the follow-up process so check out the lawful regulations in advance. 
  6. Compel answers – if neither the initial interrogatories nor follow-up questions allow you to gain the full answers. Or your spouse tries to deviate from answering at all. You can compel them to provide the answers. This is a legal procedure that may take your time and money. But if answers are worth it, go for compelling.

The interrogatories process is far from complicated, especially if your partner is willing to commit efficiently. But before and during any interrogatories you should better rely on your lawyer’s professional opinion. So that you are a hundred percent confident that the process is worth adding to your divorce case.

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Interrogatories are there to bring light to your divorce case and help you gather all the necessary information and evidence on it. This is how you can get prepared for the process carefully, understand your and your partner’s position in the case, and optimize the procedure in general by preventing any ambiguity between you and your partner. As soon as you understand what is the purpose of interrogatories in a divorce case and how they can fit your situation, cover several simple steps, and use interrogatories to streamline your divorce and gain benefits in the end.