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Do I have to tell my wife's divorce attorney who I may have for witnesses & what they may testify to?

Saint James, MO |

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

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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....



In order to hire her attorney, my wife is using what is left of her Medicaid (or Medicare--I get them mixed up) WCMSA account. These funds are supposed to be used only for medical purposes but she has been supporting her 38 year-old drug-addict son for years out of it. She recieved a settlement, which she has already exhausted, & this medical account while we have been married, but I don't believe I would have any claim on it. She also recieves a disability check each month for about 600.00. I have been barely surviving on about 250.00 to 350.00 dollars per month. I have not a cent extra for an attorney & no where to borrow any money. Most everybody is broke as America goes down the sewer. Also, I take it that you mean I do not have to reveal my witnesses at this point? Thanks much!


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



Why would I want my wife's attorney to know what to ask for & how to represent her? I prefer to have the element of surprise in my favor just as Robert E. Lee did, or any army, for that matter. I can't see giving away my strategy to the enemy. In any battle, you don't tell the enemy your plans & this is a battle. If that's what they do in court, then, they are totally stupid beyond belief! There are no law schools in this part of the country that I'm aware of & even if there were, I have no gasoline to get there as I can't even buy enough food to eat, let alone extra gasoline. As for friends & relatives with money, few have any left, & the ones who do are hanging on to it. If I needed surgery or I would die, then, I would just have to die. Out here in the real world, everybody is going broke as this country goes down the toilet. I do thank you for your reply, however, & I do appreciate your time to do so.

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