Continuing our discussion regarding Discovery, today we’re taking a look at Interrogatories. Covered under Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 33, Interrogatories are a very common tool used by lawyers in family law and divorce matters. Simply stated, Interrogatories are questions from one party to the other, whose answers are sworn under oath. Parties are limited to forty (40) interrogatories “without leave of court”, in other words, without the court’s permission.
Interrogatories “may relate to any matters which can be inquired into under Rule 26(b), and the answers may be used to the extent permitted by the rules of evidence.” -ARCP Rule 33(b.) Parties also generally have a duty to amend or supplement their responses if their answers change, or they discover new information.
I have provided some sample Interrogatories below to give an idea of their form and content. This is not an exhaustive list, but will show generally how Interrogatories are presented.
COMES NOW the Plaintiff, John Doe, by and through his attorney of record and requests that Defendant Jane Doe answer the following Interrogatories under oath, within the time and in the manner prescribed by law.
a. These Interrogatories are continuing in character so as to require you to file supplemental answers and responses if you obtain further or different information before trial.
b. Where the name or identity of a person is requested, please state the full name, home address, and business address, if known.
c. Where knowledge or information in possession of a party is requested, such request includes knowledge of the party’s agents and representatives.
d. The pronoun “you” refers to the party to whom these Interrogatories and Requests are addressed and the persons mentioned in subparagraph “c”.
1. State your complete name, age, residence address, Social Security number, and driver’s license number.
2. State each job or employment which you have held since the age of nineteen, listing the name of your employer, job title, salary or wages, years employed and reason for leaving said employment.
3. Please state your present occupation and present monthly salary, wages, and earnings, including as part of your answer, your monthly gross earnings, and the nature and amount of any deductions and take home pay.
4. Please state the gross income, adjusted gross income, and the taxable income reported on every income tax return you have filed since the age of nineteen. As part of your answer, please attach a copy of your state and federal returns. State also your gross income for the present year to date.
5. Please list your current monthly living expenses as of the time you are answering these interrogatories for the following items:
d) Housing (mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, rent, etc.);
f) Transportation (car payment, gasoline, etc.);
g) Medical care (dental, vision, copays, prescription drugs, etc.);
j) Recreation, entertainment, and travel;
k) All other monthly expenses not listed above.
6. Please state whether your monthly living expenses referred to in the preceding interrogatory above includes the support of any persons other than yourself. If your answer is in the affirmative, specify completely and in detail how much of each of the sums have been allowed for such other person or persons.
7. Do you have a valid driver’s license? If so, please list the issuing state, driver’s license number, and expiration date.
8. Please list each and every automobile or motor vehicle which you currently own, possess, control, or drive, stating the make, model and body style, the license plate number for the current year, and the owner of said vehicle.
9. Have you ever been charged and/or arrested for any crime and/or violation? If so, give dates, nature of charges and offense, jurisdiction, and disposition of case.
10. Please provide a list of persons who live in your home, or whose home you live in, including names, dates of birth, and occupations.
11. Please provide a list of any persons who the child spends any time with, including names, dates of birth, criminal history, and occupations.
12. Please provide a detailed schedule of your visitation and communication with the child for the past twenty-four (24) months.
13. Please state whether any family member has ever cursed, directed abusive language, or made threats to the Plaintiff or any member of Plaintiff’s family. If so, please state what was said, when it was said, and any persons present.
14. Please state whether you contend that the Plaintiff committed wrongdoing of any nature prior to the filing of this action and/or subsequently thereto. If so, state the dates and times and nature of the alleged misconduct, giving in detail the facts and circumstances which support your allegation(s).