It was a difficult decision to end your marriage, but at least you thought it would be smooth sailing after the divorce papers were filed. Unfortunately, what should have been the end of your relationship was only the beginning. You and your spouse seem to disagree on almost everything, and you’ve both hired lawyers to help you separate—but you’re wary about what has been said to the opposing attorney.
As you prepare for your divorce deposition, the most important thing you can do is be aware of the motives and tactics used by the opposing counsel. You may be asked questions about your finances, children, living arrangements, and property, all of which can be points of contention in a divorce. Here are a few “do’s and don’ts” on giving an effective testimony in your divorce deposition:
- Stay calm. Take each question one at a time and give honest answers.
- Be brief. Keep your answers short and to the point.
- Stick to the facts. Avoid giving your opinion or using words that describe your feelings about the question.
- Heed your attorney’s advice. If he says not to reply, don’t give an answer.
- Answer more than the question requires. Avoid telling a story or giving information that wasn’t asked for in your answer.
- Offer additional information. Opposing counsel may ask a question that you can verify with witness testimony or documentation. However, you should not volunteer your sources—it’s his job to find proof of your answers.
- Make guesses. If you do not know the answer to a question, tell the attorney you don’t know rather than make a guess.
- Say anything you don’t want heard. Some witnesses may ramble if they’re nervous, or think out loud while attempting to answer opposing counsel’s question. You must be aware that everything you say is being recorded, whether it is relevant to the conversation or not.
- Argue with opposing counsel. The attorney asking questions needs information, but he may also try to rattle you in an attempt to start an argument. This can result in your giving away additional facts that can be useful to his client.
- Lose your temper. If you become angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed, you are more likely to reveal information that can be used against you. If you feel like your emotions are getting the better for you, ask for a break.
While these tips can help your appointment go smoothly, they are by no means the only things you can do to prepare for a divorce deposition. Click the related links on this page to find out what else the opposing counsel will be looking for during your testimony.