Before your pending divorce actually goes to court, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be called to take part in a deposition. While it’s to be used strictly for discovery purposes ahead of the actual court date, some opposing lawyers use depositions as a way to embarrass or intimidate spouses into giving false answers that can be used later in court.
Deposition at a Glance
While it’s very similar to an actual trial in that you will be under oath, no judge will be present and the setting is usually in an office. There will be a court reporter on-hand to transcribe your answers. You’ll be sworn in and asked a number of questions to prove your identity.
Because you must answer truthfully or face perjury charges, depositions are often the first time your spouse’s lawyer can question you over specific allegations.
How to Prepare For a Deposition
Any lawyer worth their salt will take the time to prepare you before the deposition. Preparation can include anticipated questions, answers and behavioral advice. Here are a few general tips that will hopefully help you in your preparation:
- Stay calm. Being sworn in and answering questions from your spouse’s attorney can certainly be intimidating, but there’s truly nothing to be afraid of.
- Take long pauses between the question and the answer. All that will be recorded is your answer to a question – not how long it took to answer or if you began to stutter while answering. Also, silently counting to five (5) in your mind before answering gives your attorney ample time to object to the question.
- “I don’t know” can be the perfect answer. If you do not know the answer to a question, the only reply you should give is, “I don’t know.” It will not be held against you. If you merely guess at an answer, you could find yourself in hot water at the actual trial.
- Talk with your lawyer. Most likely, your lawyer will be seated right beside you. You have the right to consult with them at any point in the deposition.
- No explanation needed. Many of us will go on and on when asked a question. A deposition is not the place or time for that. You’re there to provide facts, nothing more. Going into prolonged explanations can only lead to further problems as it invariably provides your spouse’s lawyer with more information and rabbit trails to go down with you
San Diego’s Men’s Legal Center Can Help You
Emotions are often running high before, during and after a divorce. If you’re facing a deposition, we’d be more than happy to coach you so that you are fully prepared when the time comes. We invite you to contact the Men’s Legal Center in San Diego today at (619) 234-3838.