While the vast majority of divorce cases are resolved between the spouses before going to trial, for some, litigation is unavoidable. In other cases, the parties begin preparing for litigation while continuing to negotiate and are able to reach an agreement before the matter is brought before a judge. As your case gets underway, your attorney may request discovery from your spouse and your spouse’s attorney may request discovery from you. Discovery—or the gathering of all information pertinent to the case at hand—may include depositions, and if you have been asked to give a deposition, there are several things you should know.
What Is a Deposition?
You may have heard the word “deposition” on television procedural dramas, but, until they are required to give one, many people are not fully clear on what the term means. A deposition is testimony given under oath in advance of a courtroom hearing or trial, the transcript or video of which may be used later in court. In a divorce-related deposition, the testimony typically takes the form of a series of questions asked by one party’s attorney to be answered by the other party. For example, if you are being deposed, your spouse’s attorney will usually be asking relevant questions.
Topics Covered in a Divorce Deposition
The questions in your deposition may cover a wide variety of subjects, but they should all be pertinent to your divorce. If the attorney asks you a question that you do not believe is relevant, your lawyer can raise an objection that will be noted in the record. The exact questions will depend on what issues are still unresolved in your divorce, but a deposition will generally include discussions about:
- Your identity, including birth date, address, and other identifying information;
- Educational and employment background, including any degrees or certifications, your work history, earning capacity, and salary details;
- Assets and debts, including anything you own by yourself or with your spouse. You will probably be asked when each asset was acquired and its current value. The same may be asked about debts and obligations;
- Your marriage, including the lifestyle that you and your spouse established and your role in the family; and
- Children and parenting, including your ideal scenario for raising your children and how such responsibilities have been handled thus far. You may also be asked for your opinions on your child’s educational and medical needs, religious training, and extracurricular activities.
Develop a Strategy With Your Attorney
During your deposition, your attorney cannot tell you how to answer each question. You and your lawyer can prepare in advance, however, by looking at a list of common questions and deciding on the best approach. It is important for you to stay focused on the question being asked and to avoid rambling onto other topics. It is also imperative that you be honest; you will be under oath, and anything you say can be brought up again later in the proceedings.
If you are getting ready to file for divorce and have questions about the possibility of a deposition, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in St. Charles, Illinois. Call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. at 630-377-7770 for a no-obligation consultation today. We will provide the guidance you need and the quality representation you deserve.