Rule 12.340. Interrogatories to Parties

(a)     Procedure for Use. Without leave of court, any party may serve on any other party written interrogatories to be answered by the party to whom the interrogatories are directed, or if that party is a public or private corporation or partnership or association or governmental agency, by any officer or agent, who must furnish the information available to that party. Interrogatories may be served on the petitioner after commencement of the action and on any other party with or after service of the process and initial pleading on that party. A party may serve fewer than all of the approved interrogatories within a form.

(1)     Initial Interrogatories. Initial interrogatories to parties in original and enforcement actions must be those set forth in Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(b). Parties governed by the mandatory disclosure requirements of rule 12.285 may serve the interrogatories set forth in Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(b).

(2)     Modification Interrogatories. Interrogatories to parties in cases involving modification of a final judgment must be those set forth in Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(c). Parties governed by the mandatory disclosure requirements of rule 12.285 may serve the interrogatories set forth in Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(c).

(b)     Additional Interrogatories. Ten interrogatories, including subparts, may be sent to a party, in addition to the standard interrogatories contained in Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(b) or Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(c). A party must obtain permission of the court to send more than 10 additional interrogatories.

(c)     Service of and Objections to Interrogatories. Each interrogatory must be answered separately and fully in writing under oath unless it is objected to, in which event the grounds for objection must be stated and signed. The party to whom the interrogatories are directed must serve the answers and any objections within 30 days after the service of the interrogatories, except that a respondent may serve answers or objections within 45 days after service of the process and initial pleading on that respondent. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. The party submitting the interrogatories may move for an order under rule 12.380(a) on any objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory.

(d)     Serving of Responses. Parties must serve responses to interrogatories on the requesting party. Responses must not be filed with the court unless they are admitted into evidence by the court and are in compliance with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.425. The responding party must file with the court Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.930(d), Notice of Service of Answers to Standard Family Law Interrogatories.

(e)     Scope; Use at Trial. Interrogatories may relate to any matters that can be inquired into under rule 12.280(b), and the answers may be used to the extent permitted by the rules of evidence except as otherwise provided in this subdivision. An interrogatory otherwise proper is not objectionable merely because an answer to the interrogatory involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or calls for a conclusion or asks for information not within the personal knowledge of the party. A party must respond to such an interrogatory by giving the information the party has and the source on which the information is based. Such a qualified answer may not be used as direct evidence for or impeachment against the party giving the answer unless the court finds it otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence.

(f)     Option to Produce Records. When the answer to an interrogatory may be derived or ascertained from the records (including electronically stored information) of the party to whom the interrogatory is directed or from an examination, audit, or inspection of the records or from a compilation, abstract, or summary based on the records and the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer is substantially the same for the party serving the interrogatory as for the party to whom it is directed, an answer to the interrogatory specifying the records from which the answer may be derived or ascertained and offering to give the party serving the interrogatory a reasonable opportunity to examine, audit, or inspect the records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts, or summaries, production of the records in lieu of a written response is a sufficient answer. An answer must be in sufficient detail to permit the interrogating party to locate and to identify, as readily as can the party interrogated, the records from which the answer may be derived or ascertained, or must identify a person or persons representing the interrogated party who will be available to assist the interrogating party in locating and identifying the records at the time they are produced. If the records to be produced consist of electronically stored information, the records must be produced in a form or forms in which they are ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.

(g)     Effect on Other Parties. Answers made by a party are not binding on any other party.

(h)     Service. Interrogatories must be arranged so that a blank space is provided after each separately numbered interrogatory. The space must be reasonably sufficient to enable the answering party to insert the answer within the space. If sufficient space is not provided, the answering party may attach additional pages with answers and refer to them in the space provided in the interrogatories. The interrogatories must be served on the party to whom the interrogatories are directed and copies must be served on all other parties. A certificate of service of the interrogatories must be filed, giving the date of service and the name of the party to whom they were directed.

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