Depositions are sometimes used in the discovery process to help attorneys learn relevant information to develop a settlement strategy. The knowledge gained can also be used in a trial if settlement talks break down.
A deposition is testimony under oath from an opposing party or witnesses in a divorce. A court reporter is present to transcribe what is said. Depositions typically occur in person at an attorney’s office, but circumstances can also allow for a video deposition.
If you are deposed in your divorce, preparation will reduce the anxiety in the process.
Review Financial Documents
Before your deposition, review the Statement of Net Worth (SNW) you filed. Having the information on top of your mind will be helpful. If anything has changed since your original SNW, tell your attorney right away, or else you might be accused of concealing information or hiding assets. Look at your spouse’s statement for any inaccuracies.
Be ready to also answer basic questions about yourself: your date of birth, your social security number, your children’s names and ages, who makes the children’s meals, and the prescriptions you take.
Depositions are under oath. Always be honest. Listen carefully and fully to the attorney’s questions. Pause before you answer. If you do not understand a question, say so. If a question is ambiguous, ask for clarification. If are asked a question and you do not remember the answer, say so. Never guess when answering a question. Stay calm, breathe, and focus on your answers.
Keep Answers Short
Do not over-answer a question. Think about what the core question is and answer only that. Do not volunteer additional information. Do not offer extra explanations. Answering “yes” or “no” are often appropriate answers. Every word you say could provide material that could be used against you later. Clients sometimes think they can help themselves by providing context or extraneous details. Instead, they can unknowingly hurt their case.
Be OK with Silence
Most of us have been in situations where an uncomfortable silence compelled us to say something. A deposition is not the place to fill in voids. Opposing counsel might purposely create silences in the hopes that you will continue talking because you feel uncomfortable sitting in silence. They may use body language or stare at you in an attempt to get you to expound on something. Do not fall for this tactic. Stay silent unless and until they ask you a specific question. Then, as we previously said, keep your answer succinct.
Alternatives to Depositions
There are additional costs associated with depositions: the attorney, court reporter, and transcript. For this reason, other methods are used in discovery to get needed information.
Other tools available in discovery may be all an attorney needs:
- Interrogatories: Written questions submitted for a spouse to answer truthfully under the penalty of perjury
- Admission of Facts: A series of short sentences that the spouse must confirm or deny
- Request for Production: Formal request for specific documents
If a spouse does not comply with discovery requests, the opposing counsel can issue a subpoena to require compliance.
Legal Counsel Offers the Best Deposition Preparation
When you are asked to sit for a deposition, your first and best resource is a skilled attorney. At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we maintain consistent contact with our clients. We believe that the relationship between counsel and client is often the No. 1 factor in the outcome of the divorce. With us, you will always know where the divorce is in the process and what you can do to best position yourself.
We thoroughly prepare our clients for depositions so much of the uncertainty is replaced by confidence.
Need help with your divorce? Reach out to us online or call (845) 605-4330.