If you're taken to court over a debt you've defaulted on, the creditor pursuing you will have the right to issue written interrogatories that you will be legally obliged to answer. Written interrogatories are a list of questions designed to identify your assets and establish your income. Failure to answer these questions without reasonable grounds can result in your creditor requesting a motion for an order compelling disclosure or discovery. Failure to comply with this could result in you being charged with contempt of court.
Review the Questions
Read through the interrogatory questions posed by your creditor with your attorney. A creditor is entitled to ask up to 25 questions, including include all discrete sub-parts of questions. You can object to certain queries if you find them unreasonable. Grounds for objection may include vague or ambiguous questions or a request for information that isn't relevant to the case. Be wary of making spurious objections. Doing so could result in increased court costs or a charge of contempt. Gather any records or evidence you need to complete your creditor's interrogatories accurately.
Answer Questions Completely
Answer all of the questions in your creditor's interrogatory in full. Provide as much detail as you can, and be completely truthful. Providing false or misleading information could result in you being held in contempt of court. If any of the questions asked are not applicable to you, answer by entering "N/A."
Return Your Answers
Sign your answers and have your attorney sign any objections you wish to make. Make copies of your completed answers and to the interrogatories and return them within 30 days of the date they were served on you unless otherwise stipulated. Deliver them to the court court in person or send them by certified mail.
Produce Records to Support Your Answers
If an answer to an interrogatory question can be derived or ascertained from your business records, bills or bank statements, you have the option of providing the relevant paperwork to the party serving the interrogatory as opposed to having to trawl through your records yourself. If you choose this option, you must provide enough detail to allow the interrogating party to locate and identify the records from which the answer to any question can be ascertained.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.