Family Law and Divorce in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County, and surrounding West Florida areas.
In every lawsuit, the parties engage in a required exchange of information and documents so that the Court, as well as the parties, can determine the merits of the case and any defenses. This is called “discovery.” It is no different with family law and divorce matters, and information gathering and sharing is crucial to prepare for settlement negotiations, or for trial, if necessary. In fact, it is so crucial that the Florida Rules of Family Law Procedure require both parties to serve a laundry list of documents on the other party automatically, without the other party even requesting it. This is aptly called “mandatory disclosure.” Additionally, parties involved in family law and divorce matters are required to serve a Financial Affidavit on the other party, which will state all of a spouse’s assets, liabilities, income, expenses, etc. for the purpose of determining child support, spousal support (alimony), and equitable distribution (the division of martial assets between the parties).
In addition to mandatory disclosure and the Financial Affidavit, parties can serve other types of discovery requests, such as a request for production of documents, a request for admissions, and interrogatories. A request for production of documents is just that, a request for specific documents other than those required by the mandatory disclosure. A request for admissions is a request that the other party admit or deny certain statements. Interrogatories are a list of questions that must be answered by the other party, and there are standard family law interrogatories that are used to gather the most pertinent information relating to family law and divorce matters.
Lastly, in almost all family law and divorce matters, it is very likely that the deposition of each party will be taken by the other party’s attorney, which consists of the attorney asking questions under oath in the presence of a court reporter who will transcribe it.
Family law discovery can be very extensive depending on the circumstances, and in many cases, requires the use of a forensic accountant. Nonetheless, the discovery process is necessary in all contested divorces or other family law matters to determine the key aspects of the case.
If you need assistance with divorce, paternity suits, or other family law matters, please contact our office, as our attorneys have extensive experience in these matters in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County, and the surrounding West Florida areas.