Your divorce case has reached a point where one or both attorneys involved agrees that it’s time to take depositions. Whether the deposition is to help solidify the truth of certain facts, or simply to help each side get a feel for what sort of witness the other will be at trial, depositions are important – and nerve-wracking – parts of some divorce cases.
Unless you’ve been involved in a previous court case, it’s unlikely you’ve ever given a deposition before. This uncertainty can leave you feeling worried about what to expect from the deposition.
Thankfully, half the battle of preparing for your deposition is understanding exactly what you’re getting into. You won’t be asked to “study up” for your deposition, or bring any information with you. You will, however, be asked to maintain your composure, answer questions truthfully and honestly, and try hard to present yourself in the best light possible.
To help you prepare, here are 7 things to remember when getting ready to give a deposition in your divorce case:
No one is expected to know and remember everything clearly, especially things said and done years before. If you don’t remember a conversation or an event your ex’s attorney is asking you about, it’s OK to respond that you don’t know or don’t remember. In fact, your attorney would much rather have you say that you don’t recall instead of trying to guess at an answer.
And, on that same vein, if you do remember clearly the information you’re being asked about, give a truthful answer. You may think that leaving out details or stretching the truth a little will help your case, but it will be much worse for you if you’re found to have lied.
Keep It Brief
Answer only the question asked and nothing more. Don’t volunteer information that you weren’t asked for just because you think it might be pertinent. If your ex’s attorney asks you why you only work part-time, for example, only give an honest answer to that question. Don’t launch into a story about your entire employment and educational history.
Sometimes, you’ll find that you may have misspoken or that you remember a detail you said earlier in the deposition that you didn’t recall. That’s OK. Once you remember the correct information, speak up and say that you need to clarify or correct something you said previously.
Take Your Time
If you’re asked a question, don’t rush to answer as quickly as possible. And if you’re handed a document, pause to read it fully. Even if it’s something you’ve seen before, don’t assume that it will look exactly as you expect it to. It’s perfectly fine to take a moment to consider your answer, recall details, or read over a document before giving your answer.
Keep Your Cool
Depositions can be scary experiences, and it can be frustrating if your ex’s lawyer is trying to put words in your mouth. The point of the deposition is to give your ex’s attorney a feel for how you will react on the witness stand; if you’re calm and collected even when being baited, they may be more likely to consider settling. Don’t argue with your ex or your ex’s lawyer. If you feel yourself getting too nervous or emotional, it’s OK to ask your lawyer for a break.
Dress the Part
When preparing for your deposition, dress as if you were going to court. Again, the deposition is like a preview of what your ex’s attorney can expect to see in trial, so make sure you look composed and ready to testify. Business casual dress is appropriate, as long as everything is clean, neat, and fits well. Don’t wear anything too loose, tight, low-cut, or short. Limit jewelry to a few small accessories, and keep makeup conservative if you’re going to wear any.
Listen to Your Lawyer
Your attorney has sat through dozens of depositions. He or she can give you guidance on how best to prepare yourself, what to say and do when you’re not sure of an answer, and how to keep your cool. If your lawyer speaks up while the other attorney is examining you, stop talking. This interruption means your attorney has an objection either to the question that was asked or how the question was asked, meaning you may not have to answer. Wait until your lawyer tells you to continue with your answer before speaking again.
Experienced Divorce Representation in the Baltimore Metro Area
Finding an attorney who has your best interests at heart and really listens to you is important. At the Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado, we are committed to making sure that each and every client feels heard and understood at what is undoubtedly a very emotional, confusing time. We help clients with divorce, child support, custody, modifications, and more, working hard to get you the results you want. Schedule your free consultation today!