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How to prepare for a deposition in your divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Family Law

As your divorce unfolds, there may come a time when your spouse wants to depose you.

The purpose of a deposition is twofold. First, it allows the other party to learn information that it may not otherwise discover. Second, it can pin the witness down to their testimony, thereby allowing more adequate trial preparation and giving the opportunity to impeach the other spouse if they provide contradictory or inconsistent testimony at trial.

Receiving notice of a deposition can be stressful. After all, you might have images of an aggressive attorney coming at you when you struggle to remember certain facts. While depositions can get heated, you have to keep your composure to ensure that you testify in a way that protects your interests. So, let’s look at some tips that might help you successfully get through your deposition.

How to successfully get through your divorce deposition

After receiving notice of a deposition, it can feel like your divorce case is spinning out of control, especially given that there’s very little your attorney can do to protect you during the deposition. But through adequate preparation, you can ensure that your deposition goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips for doing that:

  • Anticipate questions: There are probably topics that you know that your spouse is going to try to address during your deposition. If you can identify them, then you can prepare your answers appropriately.
  • Think before you answer: The questions during a deposition might come at you in rapid fire succession, but don’t feel like you have to answer them as quickly as possible or instinctively. Take the time you need to fully consider the question and to answer it as fully as possible.
  • Don’t volunteer information: If you listen to your deposition questions carefully, you’ll see that each one tries to elicit a particular piece of information. Be sure to answer the question provided and to not volunteer any additional information. Your answers should be as succinct as possible. Keep in mind that your attorney will have the opportunity to clarify any contentious points, either during the deposition itself or at trial.
  • Be honest: You don’t want to stretch the truth or mischaracterize the facts during your deposition. First, these depositions are taken under oath, meaning that you could be accused of perjury if you lie. Second, it’s hard to keep a story straight when it’s based on something other than the truth. Therefore, misstating the facts can set you up for impeachment at trial, which will likely lead the court to discredit your testimony.
  • Read all exhibits: During your deposition, your spouse’s attorney might show you exhibits and ask you questions about them. Make sure you take the time needed to read through the exhibit so that you fully understand what the document is saying and when it was created. That way you don’t provide an answer that is contradictory to the document.

Prepare for the litigation in your divorce case

It can be stressful to be deposed. Yet, it’s a critical juncture of a divorce case. That’s why it’s imperative that you fully prepare for your deposition and answer all deposition questions honestly and in full. If you have lingering concerns about the process, be sure to discuss them with your attorney. After all, the outcome of your deposition could make or break your case, impacting everything from property division to child custody and alimony.