Most, if not all, contested divorce cases where there are issues of how
much money does a person have or earn will involve financial disclosure/discovery.
Often there will be court orders or attorney demands requiring the production
of financial records, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements,
loan applications, business records, deeds to property and all other financial
records for a specified period of time. In addition, there may also be
a demand that Interrogatories are answered (these are written questions
that are to be answered under oath and in writing). Finally, there may
also be a date set for depositions which are oral questions asked with
both attorneys and clients present under oath. The questions and answers
are recorded stenographically. This information is necessary for child
support calculations, maintenance determination and asset distribution.
So what happens if you do not provide the documents requested and you have
them in your possession, or if you refuse to answer Interrogatories or
refuse to attend your deposition. Usually, the other attorney will either
discuss the issue with the judge at the next court conference or will
make a motion to enforce the court order or attorney demand. The court
will usually give an additional opportunity to comply with the directives.
If you continue to refuse to comply another request will be made for an
order that will either prevent you from testifying at the future trial
about financial matters, determine the issues solely based upon the proof
of the other party and allow the court to calculate, as best it can, your
income and assets without your participation.
It is never a good thing for a judge to think that you are not playing
fair, hiding assets, not disclosing income or playing other financial
games. The consequences, financially, are usually pretty severe. Therefore,
it is best to produce your records, answer the questions and have your
case resolved with your active participation.