St. Petersburg Discovery Process Lawyer
Once a person has filed a petition to dissolve their marriage with the court and their spouse has responded, the discovery phase of the divorce process will begin. During discovery, each side has the opportunity to ask the other party for certain information. Obtaining this information allows one side to review the information and evidence the other party is going to use against them. Information obtained during the discovery phase could be invaluable as your St. Petersburg discovery process lawyer builds a strong case on your behalf.
Tools Used During the Discovery Process
Lawyers have many tools at their disposal they can use during the discovery process. These include:
Interrogatories: Questions asked and answered in writing
Production of documents: Each side can ask the other to produce documents that can serve as evidence in a case
Depositions: During a deposition, one or more parties are asked questions and must respond while under oath
Request for admissions: Certain facts are presented to one party, which they can then admit or deny
Subpoenas: A written demand for one party to appear at a certain time and place to provide written information or testimony under oath
What Happens if You Do Not Respond to Discovery Requests?
You may think that just because the other side asks you for certain information during discovery, it does not mean you have to respond to those requests. Unfortunately, that is not true.
In Florida, each side has 30 days to respond to a discovery request. The only exception to this is when both sides agree to an extension. If one party does not respond to a discovery request or produce the requested information, the other side can file a motion to compel with the court. This is a formal order stating that one party must respond to the discovery request.
Family law judges have broad discretion when one party does not respond to a discovery request. A judge can order the party that did not respond to pay the court and legal fees the other side incurred by filing a motion to compel. If the party continues to refuse a discovery request, the court may order a motion for contempt. Still refusing to comply can result in a motion for criminal contempt. This can result in serious criminal penalties, including jail time.
The penalties for refusing to comply with discovery requests are harsh. To avoid them, it is important to respond to discovery requests as soon as possible.
Call Our Discovery Process Lawyer in St. Petersburg for Legal Help
Divorce is a complex legal process, particularly when the two sides cannot agree to the terms. If you are going through a contested divorce, our St. Petersburg discovery process lawyer at Greene & Greene can assist you through this stage of your divorce case and provide the sound legal advice you need. Call us now at (727) 821-2900 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.