In contested divorce actions, the attorneys representing each party may request to take the deposition of the other party.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is a process where an attorney asks a party, in person, a series of questions, and the party answering the questions answers those questions under oath. A deposition is part of what is typically referred to as the discovery process.
Why is there a deposition?
Reasons can vary. One common reason is that the other counsel wants to find out information about you, your case, and what could be helpful in their case. It is an opportunity to learn the strengths and weaknesses of a case, and to gather information that will later be used at trial to try to impeach or discredit the person giving the deposition. In most divorce case, the lawyer taking the deposition is trying gather information about finances, employment, the children, and if fault plays a role in the divorce, questions about adultery, abuse, drug and alcohol consumption, and other such issues.
Where will it be?
Depositions are often held in an attorney’s office.
Who will be there?
Your lawyer l and your spouse’s lawyer will likely both be present. An expert involved in the case may also be present depending on the circumstances. It is also likely there will be a court reporter to record and transcribe the deposition and to administer an oath.
How should I prepare?
It is helpful to dress and act professionally during the deposition. It can help to practice what you will say so you are confident before you enter the room. This can include reviewing documents already filed with the court, documents exchanged during the divorce process, a basic timeline and, if there were previous hearings or depositions, having a look at those statements before beginning this deposition.
What will they ask?
Questions can vary depending on the reason for the deposition. It is important to listen carefully to the questions and answer truthfully but concisely. It is generally not wise to provide additional information or attempt to offer further explanation.
If you have been deposed, it is important to work closely with your attorney to best understand what will be expected of you.