If you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement in your divorce case, it will likely proceed to trial. This means that both sides will present evidence and the judge will decide the matters in dispute such as custody of children, alimony, child support and how to divide marital assets.
One of the tools used for gathering evidence is to depose witnesses. Your deposition involves your spouse’s attorney asking you a wide variety of questions while you are under oath. Your attorney will attend the deposition with you and ensure that the questions are appropriate. A court reporter will record everything that is said during the deposition and make a record for the court.
In preparing for your divorce deposition, consider the following:
- Try to stay calm. It is normal to feel nervous, but all you will need to do is tell your side of the story. Be straightforward and honest. Your attorney will be there to protect you from any inappropriate or abusive behavior by your spouse’s lawyer. It isn’t like the dramatic scenes you see on television shows – it is just a conversation.
- Answer only the question that is being asked. This may seem like obvious advice, but it is much harder than you might expect, especially when your emotions are running high. Don’t anticipate the question being asked – wait until your spouse’s attorney has completed the question before you answer it. You are not under any time restrictions to answer, so take your time. Also, try to keep your answers clear and concise. Rambling or expounding beyond the scope of the question can lead to more questions.
- It is okay to say you don’t know the answer to a question being asked. If your spouse’s lawyer asks you something you don’t know, do not guess at the answer. It is better to say you don’t know the answer and move on than to guess and give a wrong answer that can be used against you.
- It is also important that you do not answer questions you don’t understand. If your spouse’s lawyer asks a confusing question, ask for further clarifications before you answer. Again, attempting to answer a question that is confusing could lead to your providing an answer that is used against you later.
The most important advice in preparing for a deposition is to tell the truth. Most attorneys will try to trip you up or catch you telling a lie. Thus, as long as you are telling the truth and your testimony is consistent you will be fine.
Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Men’s Divorce Law Firm. Our office is located in Orlando, Florida, but we proudly serve husbands and fathers across the State.