Going through a divorce is a stressful time for all parties involved. Divorce can be lengthy, stressful, and complicated, especially if you don’t know what to expect along the way. One key component of divorce proceedings is the deposition.
A deposition is used during the discovery phase of divorce proceedings. It allows the parties involved the ability to seek information that is relevant to the case. Depositions are conducted outside of a courtroom, but the information can be used at trial, and an experienced court reporter is present to record what happens. In a divorce deposition, it’s critical to obtain information that builds your case and gives you the best chance of getting what you want in the settlement. An attorney deposing a witness in a divorce case may want to focus questions in the following areas.
- Finances.Finances are an important issue in a divorce. Ask about current income, potential sources of income and any assets such as property, vehicles or investments. Having accurate financial information ensures that the division of marital assets is fair and doesn’t leave one party at a disadvantage. Finances are also crucial when both parties have accumulated debt during the marriage, and the lawyers need to determine how it should be allocated.
- Custody and child care. If there are children involved in the divorce, it’s critical to establish custody and visitation. Ask questions involving where the children will be while the other parent is at work, or how they are going to care for them in their current living situation. The ultimate goal is to work towards the best outcome for the children. The situation may change drastically from how it was while the parties were married and living together.
- Recreational or dangerous activities. Some personal information might be relevant during a deposition, such as illegal drug use or excessive alcohol consumption. Anything that might impact the quality of life for the children should be addressed, especially since the individual is under oath and must answer honestly to avoid perjury.
- Specific incidents or dates.If there are circumstances that led to the divorce that are relevant to any of the issues being contested, whether it’s related to splitting the assets or custody, bring them up during the deposition so the information can be put on the record for the judge to consider.
- Health. Health may come into question if either party has a mental or physical medical condition that can impact judgement or the ability to care for the children. It may also help to inquire about whether he or she currently carries life, disability or homeowner’s insurance, and who the listed beneficiary is for the policies.
Depositions can get messy and become stressful, but experienced attorneys will know to ask the right questions. Remember to remain calm during the process, and stick to the facts when asking and answering questions.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into personal injury depositions.