How to Handle a Divorce Deposition
Even the most civil of divorces can quickly turn acrimonious. A couple starts out the process with the goal of quickly coming to a settlement agreement in order to both be able to move forward with their lives. But issues such as child custody and support issues, property division, and financial asset division can overshadow that goal of a quick and friendly divorce. And then the couple is faced with long, drawn out divorce negotiations, which typically include oral depositions taken during this process.
An oral deposition can almost feel like an interrogation, with your spouse’s attorney asking you question after question. The attorney’s goal is to find out as much information from you as possible.
Depositions are usually held at the attorneys’ offices. They are never held in a courtroom or before a judge. Your attorney, as well as your spouse and their attorney, and a court reporter will all be present during questioning. The court reporter will place you under oath before questioning begins.
The court reporter will transcribe your testimony, which may be presented later as evidence during the divorce trial. As intimidating as a deposition may be, several tips below can be helpful reminders before you begin:
- Stay calm and relax. Remember that your attorney will also be present and will protect you from any intimidation tactics your spouse’s attorney may try using.
- Listen very carefully to the questions being asked. Do not try to answer the question before the attorney is finished asking it. You could end up giving a wrong answer that could be used against you during the divorce trial. Take as much time as you need and think about your answer before responding.
- If you honestly do not know the answer to the question being asked, answer that you do not know. Do not attempt to guess at the answer. Again, if the answer is incorrect, it could be used against you.
- If you do not understand the question you are being asked, say so.
- Always tell the truth. If you suspect before the deposition that there are going to be questions asked that you are concerned could hurt your case, share this information with your attorney before your deposition.
If you are going through a divorce, contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney to make sure that your rights are protected during what can be a very difficult legal process.