By Attorney Howard Iken: A very common procedure in court is the Motion to Compel.
It is part of a well-established procedure to force financial disclosure, get copies of documents, or a way to bully the other side into doing one thing or another. Here is the way it works: One side or another makes a request for documents – or the period in which to automatically provide documents has expired. Then they are supposed to send something called a good-faith letter. Something like: “dear friend, you seem to have forgotten to comply with our request.” When that does not work, one side or the other files a Motion to Compel. Throughout the entire state of Florida a Motion to Compel is pretty much the same. After the motion is filed the person trying to enforce the disclosure schedules a short hearing and asks the judge to enforce the issue.
A well observed pattern of some attorneys is to use the entire process as a way to pressure the other side. They make excessively long and burdensome requests and then try to push the issue to a Motion to Compel hearing. Some attorneys do this once. Some do it throughout a case. And many times they do not even really want the additional documents (in my personal opinion). There are ways to address the issue. One is to gather everything down to the finest detail, back up a truck, and deliver eighty gazillion documents at the door of the other attorney. You shouldn’t include any garbage or unrelated info – just the things they asked for and in painful detail and volume. Another way to address this tactic is to do it back. Make many, repetitive requests for financial documents – mirrored with their request. That tends to make people more reasonable. An then there is the last strategy – object to the excessive list of requested documents and fight it out in court.
Whatever your strategy is – When an attorney abuses the financial discovery process it is very valuable to recognize the Motion to Compel – Gimme Your Info game.
Howard Iken practices divorce, custody, and bankruptcy law in Tampa, Clearwater and New Port Richey. We also represent clients in Orlando and New Tampa. If you need an attorney to fight a motion to compel – call us for a free consultation.