When divorcing spouses disagree about the terms of their divorce, the divorce is said to be “contested.” Disagreements about asset division, child custody, or spousal support in a contested divorce can often be resolved through mediation or negotiation. If the parties cannot resolve their disagreements out of court, the next step is litigation which may involve depositions, requests for production of documents, and other types of discovery.
A deposition is an opportunity for one spouse (or more likely, the spouse’s attorney) to ask questions of the other spouse under oath in front of a court reporter. The answers are recorded and placed into evidence. The purpose of the deposition is to obtain information that may be useful in determining how the divorce settlement should be structured. If a divorce case is resolved through a trial, information from a deposition will be used to by the parties to strengthen their arguments in court.
What Happens During a Deposition?
Discovery is the process of gathering information in a contested divorce. A deposition is one form of discovery that enables each spouse to learn more about the case from the other spouse’s perspective. During a deposition, both spouses will answer questions posed by their attorneys. The attorney may also ask questions related to financial documents, child custody arrangements, and property division.
For example, if the contested issue is spousal support, the deposition may involve questions such as:
- Who is your current employer and how long have you been employed there?
- Do you have additional sources of income?
- What is your annual gross income?
If you and your spouse disagree about who should have the majority of the parental responsibilities or parenting time, you can expect questions such as:
- Who typically makes decisions about your child’s education?
- Who is primarily responsible for meals, helping with homework, and putting the children to bed?
- What is a typical day like when you are caring for your children?
How Can I Prepare for a Deposition?
It is important to be prepared for a deposition. Review all of the documentation you have provided in the divorce case, such as financial statements, bank account information, and other documents related to your assets and liabilities so the information is fresh in your mind. You may also want to practice answering questions that you expect to be asked during the deposition so you will feel more comfortable and confident in your responses.
It is important to remember that a deposition is under oath, and all answers must be truthful. If you are unsure about the answer to a question, it is perfectly acceptable to say you do not know the answer or do not recall.
Truthfulness, accuracy, and brevity are essential when responding to questions during a divorce deposition. Do not volunteer additional information because anything you say could potentially be used against you later in the case.
Contact our Palatine Divorce Lawyer
Divorcing spouses are often able to negotiate the terms of their divorce and avoid the courtroom. However, sometimes, reaching an agreement is an uphill battle. Nicholas W. Richardson is an Arlington Heights divorce attorney with extensive experience in both negotiated settlements and divorce litigation. He can provide the legal advocacy and support you need.
Call 847.873.6741 for a free, confidential consultation.