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I live in Fl, Is it normal for the other parties lawyer to want to depose you in a family court matter?

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

I was recently involved in a domestic violence situation with my daughters father, I filed for a restraining order, which is currently in place he then filed a paternity/custody/child support against me however my daughter is 16 and all of this was awarded me in 2002, I filed my answer and requested that his suit be dismissed, however before hearing back from the court regarding my answer, I then received another letter from a different lawyer he hired now wanting an emergency hearing on a total different matter regarding my daughters medical/psychological care, which I have been her sole provider in all her medical/psych/dental/vision, and now we are going before a magistrate next month, and now his lawyer is wanting me to give a depo and to supply my medical, bank, and employer records.

Why are they requesting these documents? I have a restraining order out against him, he has a long criminal and domestic violence history, why is my lawyer allowing this to continue?

Attorney Answers 9

Posted

Yes, depositions are very common in family law matters. You should hire an attorney.

You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-377-6828. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Posted

Depositions are common in paternity actions. Your bank and employer records will be relevant to the child support awarded and medical records could be relevant to the time-sharing issue. As Ms. Genarina Bernal-Mora said, you should hire an attorney.

This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

It's normal if your ex has money and wants to be aggressive. I agree with the other attorneys that you need a lawyer, doubly so when you are against a lawyer.

The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice and the answer should not be construed to constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you'd like actual legal advice, call me at 954-567-4100. Also, if you liked this answer did, be sure to click the thumbs-up button

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Posted

The procedures in litigation allow for what is called discovery. Depositions are part of discovery and are appropriate for any issues which are legitimately before the court. If you believe, based on a past history of domestic violence, that your father's daughter may be using these procedures to harass you, or if you simply disagree, you would be best served by getting a lawyer. There are provisions in the law designed to prevent litigants from abusing the process. However, it is important to remember that not everything we don't like is an abuse of process. Perhaps once you get a lawyer a mediation might help de-escalate the situation. Your lawyer could ask the court to order a mediation if it was appropriate, and could help make the situation less threatening to you. Also, most family courts have something called parenting coordinators, who can often get involved in high conflict situations. There is a fee for there services, and I would highly recommend consulting with an attorney before making the decision as to whether or not to involve a parenting coordinator, or ask the court to appoint a guardian ad litem for the child, which is another option.

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13 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response, however, I do have a lawyer, but with my limited funds i was able to get her through the bar association, but she is just letting this other lawyer run all over me, and there is no time for me to shop around. I have been my daughters care giver and he owes me over $39K in unpaid child support, this is why i feel that they are abusing the system, and instead of going before the judge, they pushed this to go before the magistrate.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Well, I don't know their reasons for that choice, but sometimes the magistrate has more time to consider the issues and may give you a more reasoned decision. If you are not happy with your attorney, the first thing you should do is try to talk to her so you understand what is happening in your case.

Asker

Posted

I feel that he and his lawyer are abusing the system, since I have a restraining order against him, i do not feel comfortable with providing his lawyer with my personal medical and bank records for them to try and use them in other ways against me, and what is a normal time period of these records request, a year, 2 years? I don't feel that my lawyer wants to work this case because she has made comments that this has now turned into a difficult case. Also I have been on disability for physical reasons and if i was already awarded child support in 2002, and paternity was also established in 98, why would i have to provide them with these records, when he has not paid a dime of child support since 2002, we have not even been to court yet, nor been before any judge or magistrate, that is not until 07/27, so why would my records be relevant to discovery shouldn't his records be the ones to questioned?

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Parties are entitled to relevant discovery. When a child is involved, the case can always be reconsidered regarding support and visitation issues until the child is an adult. Just because the case has become difficult or hit a rough patch does not mean your lawyer is not doing a good job. When you go to court, you don't always get exactly what you want. Again, you need to sit down with your lawyer and ask her these questions. If you are not satisfied with her answers, you are free to seek a second opinion, or to obtain new counsel, but be very wary of making decisions about hiring a lawyer because they tell you what you want to hear. Our job is to to help you yes, but sometimes that involves telling you things that are not what you want to hear.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again for your help, i just don't feel that I should be the questioned regarding my medical condition or my bank records to be relevant when he is the one not paying his support all these years, i have although filed a contempt in that matter last week because i dont feel that the judge or magistrate in this case knows what is going on, I have been the one covering all of my daughters medical/psych every day necessities while he has been to consumed with his crack pipe and marijuana and im just not willing to help him any more and put my family and life on hold anymore so this is all a revenge tactic on his part, so i have decided to write a letter to the judge with all of this information so that he can get a full picture of the matter. this guy has a long criminal history, and has done nothing productive for his daughter he should be the one suppling his records not me. but I hear what your saying, I just think that my lawyer should have requested these things from him first, and I dont think she has taken this case as serious as it is.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

I strongly suggest you not write a letter to the judge. The judge will not read it, and the clerk will be obliged to distribute it to all the parties. It will be used against you. You need to talk to your attorney. Seriously. Sent from my MOTOROLA ATRIX™ 2 on AT&T -----Original message-----

Asker

Posted

I've been thinking about your last comment, and you are right, and after doing my own investigation, regarding their list of document demand regarding basically all of my employee records from my job, wages, how many times I was out sick and why, they are trying to make light that he is an abuser/addict by saying that I was able to hold a job and able to get exceptional performance at my job, which even as an abused child I was always an "A" student, does it mean that my mother was not an abusive alcoholic.. This is the angle they are trying to use by asking for all this info... My question is there is no way for me to obtain most of this info before the date of depo so if I can't supply this info what can happen to me????

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

I don't know if your mom was an abusive alcholic or not, but a lot of times, children with abusive parents can become perfectionists and do really well to prove their parents wrong. They don't always become troubled people who can't hold a job. If you can't get everything, you let your lawyer know that, and why you haven't been able to, so that she can protect you at the depo. you have to work with her, not against her, so that she can help you.

Asker

Posted

yea.. the perfectionists even more daughter can attest to... I am working with my lawyer, and I have even gone as far as to collect the child support balance sheet from the clerks office, and filed my own contempt, because I know with the Bar the first 10 hrs is $500, which I also found out through them that she is only supposed to be charging me $50 for every hr over the 10, yet she is charging me $150, and I just don't think after talking with the counselors at Women In Distress that this lawyer is the right lawyer for me, because she doesn't understand domestic violence, and I feel that she is being more judgmental than supportive.

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Well, if she is not working out for you, you are entitled to try to find another attorney. Sometimes an attorney who is perfect for one person is just not the right one for another person. Maybe the people at Women in Distress know of attorneys who work with women in DV situations and could make a referral to someone more suited to your personality?

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

Or maybe even your attorney could, if you are able to talk to her about it.

Asker

Posted

Well my counselor at Women in Distress suggested that I contact the Bar and get a different atty assigned, which I think might be best. Thank You for all your help, I was wondering one last thing if I may ask: Since my answer to the Paternity suit he originally filed which is what started this whole mess was never answered by the court or even acknowledged then he filed an emergency motion for temp time sharing and to compel medical/psychological treatment for my daughter, can I counter file since I have been taking care of her medical and psych, and every other need and have proof of all? if so why wouldn't my lawyer do or know this....

Heather Morcroft

Heather Morcroft

Posted

A countersuit is something that can sometimes be filed, but not always. For example, a countersuit to paternity might be for unpaid child support. So without reviewing it, its hard to tell whether there was anything you could counter sue for or not.

Posted

Depositions in Family Law matters are not uncommon. Absent filing for a protective order and getting it granted, either on their request for deposition or request for documents, you will have to submit to their request. Unless the other party is filing for a modification, If certain matters were previously adjudicated by the Court, you may have a res judicata argument. You should consult with an attorney.

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1 comment

Howard M Lewis

Howard M Lewis

Posted

Excellent counsel

Posted

In almost every contested family law case depositions are taken. Depositions are a powerful discovery tool, which allow the opposing side to find out certain information prior to a trial/hearing. If you do not have an attorney and can afford one, I would recommend your hire an attorney for the deposition. Very often lawyers attempt to overpower or intimidate none represented parties during a deposition.

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Posted

Depositions are very common. I recommend that you hire an attorney from your jurisdiction.

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Posted

It is routine to have one 's deposition taken in a family. I agree with the lawyers who have already stated as much. However, I am more concerned about the other lawyer wanting your Daughter's medical/ psych/dental /vision records. I assume your daughter wants to remain with you. Your daughter is entitled to have a Guardian ad litem appointed to protect her privacy nterests and oppose automtically providing the records. Further, unless the petition for modification was filed that records be automatically turned over.

Paul V. DeBianchi, Attorney at Law
Paul V. DeBianchi P.A.
111 S.E. 12th St.,
Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33316-1813
phone: 954-764-6133
Fax: 954-764-6131
e-mail: debianchi236@BellSouth.net
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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank You for your response.... actually they are trying to force my daughter to have a psych eval, her father and grandparents have concocked a notion that my daughter has Asperger's which is a form of autism so that they can claim SSDI, but my daughter has been through 2 psych evals through the school board and has had several counselors, wouldn't one of them have known... so I did find out that it is my medical and employee records that they are requesting, sick/wages/vac pay... why I was out sick... its like a list of 26 items pertaining to my employee/medical/and disability records.. so this confuses me.

Asker

Posted

and no petition for modification was filed. He filed paternity which was the wrong thing to file, since paternity was set in 1998, and then added an emergency motion for temp time sharing and to compel medical/psych treatment for my daughter... however, I have been doing all of that and have documentation to prove it.

Posted

Yes, it is not uncommon for an attorney to depose a party in a family court matter. In addition to discoverying information, the attorney will ask similar questions to those he intends on asking at the upcoming hearing. It is highly recommended that you obtain counsel to represent you.

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