If you are in the middle of a divorce and you find you must attend a deposition, you are likely very nervous and anxious about what will take place at that deposition. In addition to reading the following tips related to your divorce deposition, it is important that you have a conversation with your family law attorney well in advance of the deposition. The attorneys from The Law Place can ensure that all your questions are thoroughly answered, and while we cannot predict every single question you may be asked in your deposition, we will have a good idea of what your spouse’s attorney is looking for. We will take pains to ensure you are well-prepared for your deposition so that you won’t inadvertently answer a question in a way which might come back to haunt you later on in the divorce.
Why Am I Being Asked for a Deposition in My Florida Divorce?
Depositions are a means of giving both parties the opportunity to have their spouse answer questions under oath. Most attorneys will have a prepared list of questions on issues which are in dispute, and will attempt to get the answers they need—and prevent an “ambush” at trial. You can think of a deposition as a sort of “rehearsal” for the actual divorce trial, in that you will likely be asked many of the same questions at trial. But—and this is extremely important—should you answer a question differently during the divorce trial, your spouse’s attorney will likely pull out your deposition and question you on the differences. From your point of view, the deposition will give you the chance to see how your spouse intends to answer questions, and whether he or she intends to be truthful. A deposition can also prevent your divorce from going to trial in some cases when issues are brought up that the other spouse may not want to come out in a public trial.
Is a Deposition Expensive?
Some divorce attorneys feel the cost of the deposition may not be worth what can be gained, unless they believe the other spouse can be impeached at trial or are uncertain of what answers may be given at trial. The cost of a deposition can vary widely, but the average cost for a two-hour deposition with a court reporter can run from $400-$500. The expenses associated with your attorney’s time will also factor in to the cost of a deposition. Should experts be deposed, the cost will increase. Some depositions are taken via video, however a written transcript is still the accepted standard.
What Will I Be Asked in My Divorce Deposition?
When it is your turn, you will be sworn in and required to testify truthfully. It is important that you not answer questions quickly, rather consider your answer carefully. If you are unsure about the answer to a question—say so. Never guess about an answer. Suppose you are asked about a certain date a particular incident occurred. You may truly not remember, but you think it could have been on Tuesday, so that’s the answer you offer up. Later on, it turns out the incident occurred on Thursday, and rather than looking like someone who simply forgot, you will instead look like you deliberately lied.
Your deposition will probably start rather mundanely. You will be asked about your name, address, education, job history, health and finances. As your attorney from The Law Place will tell you, many attorneys will lull you into thinking you are only being asked basic questions, then throw in a totally unrelated question in order to shake you up or prompt you to answer the question badly. The questions you are asked pertaining to your marriage and divorce should be answered carefully and deliberately, and no matter how hard the opposing attorney tries to make you angry, do your best to remain calm and clear-headed.
Final Thoughts on Your Deposition
If your attorney does not appear to be offering many objections, don’t worry. The deposition is a form of discovery, and, as such, you are required to answer most all questions. Once the transcript is complete, you will have the opportunity to review the transcript and make any necessary corrections. Be straightforward with your deposition answers, speak clearly, don’t attempt to joke around during the deposition and guard against losing your temper. If you feel the need for a break during the deposition, ask your attorney. At The Law Place, we pride ourselves on bringing a human touch to difficult situations like divorce. We have the knowledge of Florida family law, the experience, and compassion for your situation and will use all these tools to your advantage.