The process of a divorce is a stressful period that can often be taxing timewise and emotionally. There are also many steps in the divorce process – one of them being a deposition.
In and of itself, a deposition can be an unnerving process. It frequently occurs during the “discovery process” of divorce proceedings.
At JGL Law, our team of skilled divorced attorneys work to guarantee that you are properly consulted and informed on all aspects of divorce litigation – including depositions. We’ve put together a preparation guide that will help answer any questions you may have regarding a current or future divorce deposition.
For more information or to consult with one of our divorce attorneys, please contact us today!
What is a Divorce Deposition?
During the discovery process of a divorce, a deposition is used to gain information that is relevant to the case. The testimony is taken and the witness is under oath as if testifying in court.
At a divorce deposition, attorneys and a court reporter are present. The parties can also be present for a witness deposition, but that determination is usually left to be decided by the attorney and client. Depositions are typically held in the office of the attorney requesting the testimony, but can also take place at another location, such as a conference room in the courthouse or the court reporter’s office.
The deponent, or the person being deposed, may or may not be subpoenaed to appear in court and testify at the deposition.
Benefits of a Divorce Deposition
A deposition is used in order to get necessary information, including: records, reports, and testimony under oath that can be referred back to if/when the case goes to trial.
The benefits of a divorce deposition can include:
- Case Preparation
- Acquired Testimony
- Opportunity to Study Witness Behavior
- Settlement Process Aid
Additionally, depositions can be beneficial in building a case against the deponent as inconsistencies and credibility can be called into question – often regarding custody, finances, asset acquisition, etc.
How to Prepare for a Divorce Deposition?
The first, crucial step in preparing for a divorce deposition is to meet with an experienced divorce attorney and provide them with all the facts. Giving your attorney this information helps with deposition preparation and direct questioning that your attorney will need to develop a plan of action.
The second step in preparing for a divorce deposition is to know the questions that will be asked.
Questions Asked at a Deposition
Questions asked in a deposition will differ from case to case, however, there are five common subjects that are frequently brought up in divorce depositions.
Interrogatories, or written questions that are answered under oath in writing, may also be asked to complete by a spouse’s lawyer before the deposition. Typically, these questions are similar to what would be asked during a recorded verbal statement.
When there are issues of child support and/or alimony, a division of debts, property, or assets, financial information and questions directed at acquiring that information are a vital part of divorce cases.
Child Care/ Custody
Unresolved issues with child care and custody can be incredibly emotionally taxing for all parties, so a divorce deposition can be useful in determining the safest and best place for a child to live.
Attorneys will use depositions as a way to ask deponents questions, including:
- Who is the primary caregiver for the child?
- How have past/current interactions been with each parent towards the child?
- Does the child, or children, have special needs?
- What is their home life like?
- Where do they attend school?
Mental and Physical Health
Information regarding you or the deponent’s mental or physical health may be called into question during a divorce deposition as it related to finances and children.
Make sure that you disclose any mental or physical health information to your attorney before the deposition so that you’re able to properly address it later.
Specific Dates and Events
Divorce depositions are designed to address or introduce any new information that could potentially harm a case, so it’s important to disclose every piece of relevant information, including specific dates and events. This will help to prevent any disparities between parties as well as avoid issues with credibility.
Dangerous or Recreational Activities
In a divorce deposition, expect to answer personal questions. How you spend your free time, recreational activities (dangerous or not) are not off-limits.
Alcohol use, drug use, dangerous hobbies, etc. – these are all a cause for concern and can potentially be used to determine custody, so speak to your attorney beforehand and be honest.
Tips for Divorce Depositions
While it’s always best to speak to your attorney regarding your specific case, here are a few helpful tips for protecting yourself during a divorce deposition.
One of the most important things to remember, in preparation for and during a deposition, is to be completely honest.
False testimony can be used against you in trial. In a deposition, you’re answering questions under oath. A false statement can be subject to perjury or, at the very least, a loss of credibility for the deponent.
If You have questions, Ask your Attorney
Your attorney is there to make sure you’re properly prepared for a deposition. It’s imperative that you consult with your attorney about all relevant information to the case.
They’re also there to answer any questions you may have, so utilize your attorney-client relationship!
In today’s world, many people maintain social media accounts that often contain posts, photos or other information that may be useful to the opposing side. Please discuss the content of these accounts with your attorney to be sure there is nothing that may prove harmful to your case.
Listen to every question – Don’t Guess
When asked a question, listen carefully and don’t guess. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Lying, providing misinformation, or volunteering irrelevant statements are not advised and can lead to more trouble.
Consult with a Divorce Attorney Today
At Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A., our skilled divorce attorneys are here to look after your best interests and can help you resolve the first two issues as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible, allowing you to focus on a brighter future ahead.
For any questions or concerns about your divorce process, please consult with one of our compassionate and skilled attorneys today!
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