Depositions

If you are going through a contested divorce you can be certain that the lawyer for your spouse is going to want to take your deposition, and even more importantly your attorney is going to want to take your spouse’s deposition. A deposition is a discovery technique, where the lawyer may ask questions of the witness who is sworn under oath. If the witness lies, they may be prosecuted for perjury. The purpose of the deposition from a lawyer’s perspective is three fold:

1. To obtain information to aid them in preparing for trial.

2. To determine if there is other places that the attorney must look for information.

3. To determine the type of witness the deponent will make at trial. For example, do they lie? Are they a talker? Are they antagonistic or pleasant?

If you are going through a deposition you should know that in a Dissolution of Marriage action the issues that are being resolved surround: alimony, time sharing, child support, the division of assets and liabilities and attorney’s fees. That said, the questions that are going to be asked will stem from those issues.

Most people being deposed feel that they need to convince their spouse’s attorney of the justness of their position. That is a waste of time. It is only important to answer the questions as honestly and succinctly as possible. Do not volunteer information or show your emotions to your opponent. Your lawyer will from time to time, interject an objection on the record. Please do not talk over him or her, as it may defeat the purpose of the objection.

Usually, depositions are informal. However do not be fooled, if you make a statement that is inconsistent with a later statement at trial, the deposition can severely destroy your credibility.

Just as important as your deposition, is your spouse’s deposition. Help your attorney by writing out questions you want asked at that deposition. You should spend at least an hour preparing with your attorney for this most important stage of a litigated divorce.

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