Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Seven Tips to Get You Through Your Divorce Deposition

Depositions are used in all types of legal cases, including family law cases. When you a deposed, an attorney asks you a series of questions that you answer under oath. A court reporter is present to record your answers for the official transcript. Answering questions during a deposition is much like giving testimony in a courtroom. You are under oath, and your answers can be used to challenge your testimony in court if your testimony is different from the answers during your deposition.

Our New York family law lawyers assist clients in preparing for depositions. In most cases, clients are more comfortable and confident about the deposition after spending time with their attorney preparing for the deposition. Below are tips that our New York family law lawyer offers clients when conducting deposition preparation.

Preparing for Your Deposition in Your Divorce Case

  1. Listen carefully to each question. Do not begin your answer until the attorney completes the question. If you did not hear the question clearly or you do not understand the questions, you should ask the attorney to repeat or clarify the question.

  2. Do not estimate or guess when answering a question. You should say that you do not know the answer to a question if you honestly are not sure of the answer. You do not need to explain why you do not know the answer, simply that you do not know the answer. The attorney may ask you to guess or estimate. Do not guess or estimate unless directed to do so by your attorney.

  3. Ask to confer with your attorney. A deposition is not a trial. Your attorney cannot answer a question for you nor can he tell you how to answer a question. However, you have the right to confer with your attorney at any time during the deposition by asking to do so.

  4. Do not volunteer information. This rule applies to testimony in a courtroom too. Listen carefully to the question and only provide information in response to the question. Volunteering information, trying to explain an answer, or trying to justify an answer can lead to providing information that the other attorney may not know to ask about during the deposition.

  5. Do not lose your temper. You need to remain calm and polite during the deposition. The attorney may ask you questions designed to make you angry or frustrated to elicit a certain response from you. Do not fall for this tactic. If you believe you are losing your temper, you should ask your attorney for a break to confer with him.

  6. Tell the truth. Do not try to script your answers to be evasive or stretch the truth. Lying under oath is perjury, which is a crime. You must tell the truth in a deposition as you would in court. Some of the questions may be uncomfortable and difficult in a divorce action, but you must answer honestly. Your New York family law lawyer will help prepare you for some of these questions based on the facts in your divorce case. Remember, you can take a break or ask to confer with your attorney.

  7. Be careful of open-ended and compound questions. The other attorney is attempting to elicit as much information as possible to use against you in your divorce action. Asking questions such as “Is that all” is a way to encourage you to continue talking even though you answered the question. Also, compound questions can be confusing. If the question has multiple sections, request that the attorney ask each section one at a time allowing you to respond to each part before moving to the next section.

Your New York Family Law Lawyer Provides Support and Guidance

You are not alone at your deposition. Your New York family law lawyer is in the room with you, listening to each question to protect your legal rights. If a question is not within the proper scope of the discovery, your attorney will object. Even though your attorney cannot answer for you, he is not going to allow the other attorney to abuse, disrespect, or harass you nor violate your legal rights. Schedule a consult with an experienced New York divorce lawyer today if you have questions concerning your divorce.

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