Almost all couples hope their divorce is quick and easy. That is not always the case, though. When divorce issues turn contentious, the couple could be facing several days in court so that a judge can make the tough decisions. Before that happens, trial preparations are carried out. Read on and find out more about one particular part of discovery, the deposition.
What Is a Deposition?
Discovery allows both sides (you and your spouse) an opportunity to prepare for trial by sharing important documents and evidence. In a divorce trial, that might mean police reports, financial statements, a list of witnesses, and so on. Trials are not the time for surprises, so each side is allowed to interview witnesses and all parties ahead of time in a deposition. Not all divorcing couples will need to go through a deposition, but the more issues in contention, the greater the likelihood you will participate in one. Other harbingers of discovery procedures like depositions are high net worth divorces and child custody disputes.
The Role You Play
You might want to consider a deposition to be a trial run for the upcoming court case. Depositions, though not held in a courtroom, mimic the testimony in a trial, and the things said may be used in the trial. Everyone participating in the deposition is sworn in, and a court reporter takes everything down. You can expect your deposition to focus only on the issues that you and your spouse could not agree upon when you set out to form a divorce agreement. Whatever issues are in contention will be dissected during the deposition.
How to Cope With the Deposition
Your divorce lawyer can be expected to spend some time prepping you for the questioning by your spouse's lawyer. You may be provided with a list of possible lines of inquiry ahead of time. Use those questions as a guideline and be ready to discuss the issues at hand. If you are asked an inappropriate question, your lawyer can object for the record. Here are some more tips and information for making sure your deposition results in a favorable outcome:
- Stay calm and don't let the other attorney upset you.
- In all likelihood, your spouse will not be present during the time you are testifying.
- Don't chatter on – just answer the question and only the question and nothing else.
- Don't guess at an answer. Don't be afraid to say you don't know the answer.
- If you make a mistake and say something you want to take back, let it be known. Depositions are not as formal as court hearings.
- When you need a break, say so.
- Prepare your lawyer by telling them about anything you can think of that might come up during the deposition.
Speak to your divorce attorney to learn more about your divorce deposition.