What Do I Do If My Spouse’s Divorce Attorney Serves Me with A Deposition Notice?
When you are in the process of going through a divorce, you may have to go through a deposition. Lawyers take depositions in order to prepare for trial; it not only helps them discover helpful information that may be favorable to their case, but also sometimes reveals statements against your interest that could affect your credibility. If you do receive a notice indicating that your spouse’s attorney plans on taking a deposition, you want to work with your attorney to make sure that you are prepared, as this is very important.
Know that most lawyers are very skilled at depositions and know how to make witnesses uncomfortable. However, if you practice with your attorney, you should be prepared for the setting of the process, which can, at times, feel informal even though it is a very important process that has formal results. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you practice and participate in a deposition:
Those present at your deposition will be your attorney, your spouse’s attorney, and the court reporter, who records every word said during the deposition. It is also possible that your spouse may be there, as well as any others that could be directly relevant to the case, such as a Guardian Ad Litem or child representative if time sharing issues are involved in your case. There is no judge present and in fact the judge will not review the transcript from the deposition unless one of the attorneys requests that they do so.
What To Expect When You Arrive
The process typically lasts around three hours, although it entirely depends upon the circumstances of a specific divorce. You are asked to raise your hand and take an oath and then asked questions by your spouse’s attorney while the court reporter records the questions asked and your answers. This will later be provided in the form of a transcript, but you will be allowed to review it before it is signed and finalized to make sure that everything recorded in your answers was accurate.
Pause, Take Your Time, Focus On The Substance Of Your Answers
Make sure that you pause and think before answering any questions. This is very important in order to make sure that you only answer the questions asked and concentrate on the substance of your testimony. Do not try to be a “helpful” witness – keep your answers short and to the point.
By taking your time and pausing before you answer, you also give your attorney a chance to object to the question first if they need to. Even if you end up having to answer the question anyway, it is important that this objection is recorded by the court reporter first. Still, make sure that if your attorney does object, you wait for that to be resolved before you do answer. Your attorney will provide you with instructions on how to proceed if there is an objection.
Do Not Fill The Silence With Follow-Up Or Fall For The Repeated Question Trap
The same principle applies if you feel that you may be getting the silent treatment from the opposing attorney, and this makes you feel uncomfortable. Do not assume that this is because you did not provide complete answers and do not be tempted into filling the silence with additional words. In the same vein, if the attorney seems to be asking the same question of you more than once, they may be trying to elicit more information out of you in order to strengthen their case. If this happens, do not be afraid to stick to your original answer.
Do Not Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification Or Answer Honestly That You Do Not Know Or Remember
Also make sure that you never answer the question unless you can fully understand it. It is the job of the opposing attorney to make sure that their questions are unambiguous, and it is not your job to help them do this. Therefore, do not be afraid to simply say that you do not understand the question and ask that it be repeated. Refrain from trying to clarify for the attorney by asking a conditional follow-up question, as this could provide them with more information (for example, “if you mean x, then y.”)—simply indicate you do not understand the question. There is also nothing wrong with saying that you do not remember or you do not know. Both of these answers are preferable to guessing.
If A Document Comes Up, Make Sure You Have It In Front Of You & Take Time To Examine It
If the attorney refers to any documents, know that this is very important because documents often form the central evidence of a case. If you are asked questions about a document, always make sure that you read the fine print and never testify about the content of a document that you are not completely familiar with without having an opportunity to read it. Also never testify about its specific content without having the document right in front of you, including when you provide your answer.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorneys for Assistance
Contact the skilled Orlando divorce attorneys at Arwani Law Firm for the very best in legal representation for your divorce.