I'm in Missouri & recieved something called "Petitioner's First Interrogatories Propounded To Respondent" (whatever that means) from my wife's attorney. He wants me to tell him who I will have for witnesses & what they will testify to. That's like telling the other players in a poker game what cards you're holding & is totally stupid! I have zero income, no assets that I can sell, & no way of getting an attorney. Missouri Legal aid turned me down, anyway, just the same. What will happen, if anything, if I refuse t answer & why can't I ask her same? Isn't it against the law to force me into court with no lawyer & wouldn't it be a violation of law, anyway, for me to practice law without a license. What sort of "legal" system would pit me, a layman, against a seasoned attorney.? Thanks much
I'm not so sure that it's against the law to force you into court without a lawyer. Think about it this way: it makes sense to use a lawyer (this is a person who knows the ins-and-outs of court, the legal system, etc. If your wife is using one, I would assume she is using (joint) marital funds. If that's the case, why should the judge allow her to have access to funds that you do not have? That is not proper. If the two of you are in a 50/50 (marital) partnership, you should go forward on a motion for an advance on your portion of the marital estate for legal fees. HOw did your wife get money? On another matter, you can be unsure (at this time) as to who will testify on your behalf...don't show your hand at this point. Further discovery may determine who you'll want to have testify. Good luck. Get an attorney....
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You must answer the interrogatories (legal term for questions). If you do not answer them, your wife's attorney can file a motion to force you to answer them or face certain penalties, such as monetary sanctions or dismissal of your pleadings. You are also required to identify your witnesses prior to trial.
The interrogatories are what is called part of discovery, and it also acts as a tool so your estranged spouses attorney knows what to ask for and represent that person and not try to overreach. You ever hear the saying never ask a question you don't know the answer to? Anyway, as two great colleagues have already provided you answers, I wanted to state that if you are having trouble affording an attorney, try to see if there is a local law school that has a legal clinic that can assist you, if you go to a church or synagogue perhaps there is a member that will assist you, or you can even ask as many friends and family for small loans. If you get $100 for like 15 people, you may be able to buy a few hours of an attorneys time. You have to think outside the box. Do what you have to do and make sure that you look at it as if you need surgery that would greatly improve your life and you had to have the surgery now or it would be too late, do the same thing to get the money. Good Luck and if this was helpful, please mark it as MOST HELPFUL answer.
Attorney Williams practices FAMILY LAW throughout the State of California and may be reached at (831) 233-3558 and offers free consultations. The response provided in this forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information offered in this response is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without further consultation with a legal professional after all relevant facts are disclosed and considered. DANIEL S. WILLIAMS, ESQ. LAW OFFICES OF DANIEL S. WILLIAMS 500 LIGHTHOUSE AVENUE, STE. A MONTEREY, CA 93940 (831) 233-3558 -- OFFICE (831) 233-3560 -- FAX