A Motion to Compel In a Florida Family Law Case
A motion to compel in a Florida family law case may be made when one party (the petitioner or the respondent) has failed to abide by a lawfully propounded discovery request. There are many different types of and reasons for filing a motion to compel, but this article specifically relates to a narrow discovery issue involving noncompliance. Noncompliance refers to a failure to abide by mandatory disclosure and the court’s family law rules of procedure that govern discovery.
In most cases, the parties make a discovery request of/from one another. In complex family law litigation relating to alimony, property distribution, and asset and liability distribution, discovery requests can be extensive and take a long time to piece together. Discovery may involve retirement plans, real estate properties, and even offshore accounts.
In many other cases without extensive discovery needs, the parties often ask for some bank records, W-2 statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and credit card statements. This sort of discovery is more likely than not obtainable via compliance with mandatory disclosure. Of course, any request for documents in a Florida family law case are subject to objection. When a fairly unchallenging discovery request has been made, by Rule, the party upon whom the request has been made has approximately 30 days to respond. The party responding to the request may make a request for an extension with good cause and in good faith, while the converse is also true, the party propounding discovery may offer an extension upon a showing the other side is getting their documents together and needs a little more time to do so. Discovery does not need to be a fight, but when one or both sides fail to comply with reasonable requests, your attorney may advise to you file a motion to compel in a Florida family law case.
When to File A Motion to Compel In a Florida Family Law Case
This is when a motion to compel in a Florida family law case may become vital to the stability of your case. If 30 days have passed, you may choose to send a reminder to the other side that discovery is due. Consider offering a small extension (the standard time is 10 days) to incentivize the production of the documents requested. If the other party fails to furnish the documents (provided you are in compliance with discovery), and you can certify to the court that you have made multiple good faith efforts to communicate with the non-compliant party (and have been stonewalled or outright ignored), you may then consider filing a motion to compel in a Florida family law case. Attorney’s Fees are sometimes awarded upon a showing of good cause.
Motion to Compel Granted, Now What?
If a motion to compel discovery states to the court that the other side has completely failed to respond or object to a good faith and reasonable discovery request, generally, the court will order compliance with discovery to be made within 10 days (20 in some cases). If discovery is still not provided, the court may in some cases award (provided the motion and the attorney ask for it) attorney’s fees to be paid by the noncompliant party. After all, the party acting in good faith should not be made to bear the burden of paying additional legal fees for the other side’s failure to act in good faith.
Jonathan Jacobs is a Divorce Attorney In Clermont Florida, a Divorce Attorney in Orlando Florida, and helps clients throughout Central Florida. Call the Jacobs Law Firm today for a free phone consultation in your family law case.