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Explore General Legal Issues

Taking It To Court: Divorce And Depositions

by Ralph Griffin

Not all divorcing couples can agree on important issues during a divorce. When couples are in a war, going to court may be inevitable so that matters like child custody, property disputes, and debt disagreements can be addressed. Civil court cases like divorce can call for the couple to participate in a practice known as a deposition. To help you get ready for your deposition, read below.

Making Facts Known

Depositions are part of the pretrial process of discovery. Before the judge hears the case, the parties are asked to give testimony at a deposition. This testimony is under oath with a court reporter taking everything down. Anything said at the deposition may be brought up in court later. The point of discovery and depositions in particular is to provide information about the case to the lawyers for both of the divorcing parties. At the deposition, witnesses are brought forward and questioned. In most cases, you and your spouse testify along with witnesses. Other parts of the discovery process could call for financial information about the couple's banking affairs to be released. In fault states, evidence of wrongdoing by a spouse might also be brought forward and made known to everyone involved in the case during discovery.

How to Have a Successful Deposition

Following the below tips will make your divorce deposition as smooth and positive as possible:

  1. Your divorce lawyer can lead you in the right direction as you prepare for the meeting. Local deposition practices differ in the way things go. You should know, too, that your lawyer will be by your side at all times during the deposition.
  2. You and your lawyer will probably be able to predict what will be asked of you just by taking into consideration the issues that are holding up your settlement. For example, if child custody is in contention, the deposition will focus on parental fitness and allegations of parental wrongdoing.
  3. As you are questioned, take your time and don't be bullied by the other side. If you don't know the answer, just say so.
  4. Don't be embarrassed about speaking the truth. The only people present at the deposition are your lawyer, the spouse's lawyer, the court reporter, and you. This is not like an open courtroom — it's more like a small meeting or conference room. Also, there is no judge present.

For more tips on having a good deposition experience, speak to a divorce lawyer.