Tips on Giving a Deposition for a Divorce

By Heather Frances J.D.

Divorce cases can be much like other civil lawsuits, and depositions can be used in divorces like they are in other cases. A deposition is testimony given before trial, usually recorded in a transcript or by video. Lawyers from both sides get to ask questions to gather evidence to help prepare for trial, and answers are given under oath. Thus, depositions can be as important as testimony given in the courtroom.

Divorce cases can be much like other civil lawsuits, and depositions can be used in divorces like they are in other cases. A deposition is testimony given before trial, usually recorded in a transcript or by video. Lawyers from both sides get to ask questions to gather evidence to help prepare for trial, and answers are given under oath. Thus, depositions can be as important as testimony given in the courtroom.

Documents and Disclosure

Documents can help you testify by reminding you of facts when you get nervous or can't remember certain details. Thus, you may be tempted to bring all of your documentary evidence with you to your deposition. However, if you have a lawyer, she may not want the other side to have access to everything you have, so you may want to discuss with your lawyer beforehand what you want to bring. While testifying, you generally should not disclose any of your lawyer's strategies in your divorce or anything your lawyer has told you. This can compromise your case, and even the court cannot force you to disclose what you discuss with your lawyer.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Demeanor

Dressing appropriately can make you more credible and feel more confident when testifying. Conservative, professional dress is typically appropriate for a deposition. In addition to looking polished, you must maintain an agreeable, calm demeanor whenever possible. You cannot win your case in a deposition, but being difficult or getting angry can hurt your case. Such behavior can make you look like you have something to hide. If you lose your temper, you may also say something you don't really mean.

Answers

Since you are under oath throughout a deposition, you must answer each question truthfully. However, your lawyer will likely advise you to keep your answers short, answering with a simple yes or no when possible. You may want to avoid volunteering information that isn't asked since such extra information can be misused or open a can of worms you didn't intend to open. Your attorney can help you stay on track by objecting to questions that are inappropriate. Generally, you should stop talking as soon as your attorney objects to a question. After an objection, your attorney may allow you to continue answering or ask the other side to move on to other questions.

Ask Questions If Needed

If you do not understand a question, your answer may be inaccurate or misleading. However, you can ask the person questioning you to clarify the question or rephrase it another way to be sure you understand what is being asked. Before you answer a question, take time to think about your answer. If your deposition is being videotaped, excessive delays can make it look like you have something to hide, but it is important to make sure you are saying exactly what you mean.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Give a Testimony at a Divorce Hearing

References

Related articles

Questions for a Divorce Deposition

Depositions during a divorce case are the exception and not the rule. They’re expensive and are usually only worth the cost in extremely contentious cases where a trial is considered inevitable. Almost any question is permissible. No judge is present to rule that questions are irrelevant. The deposer can ask anything that might unearth information that can be used at trial, such as evidence of hidden assets or infidelity.

How to Prepare for a Divorce Trial

When two people weave all aspects of their lives together in marriage, separating the strands so they can divorce can be a complex process. Some issues between you might be crossed off the list right away, such as who keeps the cat. Other issues may be more contentious. If you can’t come to a settlement, you’ll have to go to trial. You don’t have to try all aspects of your divorce before a judge, just those you haven’t agreed on.

What Will Happen Once My Wife Has Filed for Divorce?

When your wife files for divorce, you'll probably hear from a lot of well-meaning friends who have been through it themselves and want to tell you what to expect. The problem with this is that no two divorces are exactly alike, and the rules and laws governing divorce can vary from state to state. However, the basic steps of the divorce process are usually similar no matter where you live.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Not to Say When Tesifying in Child Custody

Testifying can be terrifying when everything hangs in the balance and so much depends on your words. If you're ...

How to Answer Divorce Interrogatories

Interrogatories and depositions are part of the discovery process in a divorce lawsuit. Discovery allows both parties ...

Motion to Reinstate a Divorce Complaint

Deadlines and mandatory court filings can complicate the divorce process, especially when you’re representing ...

Can Documents Obtained by a Private Investigator Be Requested as a Discovery in a Divorce Case?

If you suspect that your soon-to-be ex will go to any and all lengths to dig up information to influence your divorce ...

Browse by category