Prior to trial, each party has the right to send written questions to the other side. The written questions are called interrogatories and are governed by specific rules relating to their form, the deadline for answering, the number of questions that can be asked and what types of questions can be asked.

Sidebar: Many courts have created standard interrogatories, which lawyers are encouraged to use in order to avoid disputes. For example, courts may have matrimonial interrogatories for divorce lawyers to use. Because the interrogatories are of the court's own design, the answering party cannot argue that the questions are improper and refuse to answer.

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