What Can You Expect in Your Family Law Deposition?
In any kind of case, the thought of having to give a deposition makes people’s skin crawl. It is seen as a process that’s highly combative and highly invasive. Often, just the threat of doing them is enough to convince reasonable people to try to settle cases early. It can make things easier if you know what to expect.
What is a Deposition?
A deposition is a process in which you answer questions asked of you by the other side’s attorney, and wherein the answers are transcribed and given under oath. Not everything said in deposition will be told to the judge at your trial, but if you are asked the same questions at the trial, your answers should be consistent with how you answered at deposition, both to avoid perjury, and to maintain credibility.
You cannot refuse to answer most questions asked of you, and you cannot confer with your attorney as to how to answer the questions. The attorney on the other side may be hostile, combative and belligerent, but may also be very kind and understanding. That means that you must avoid becoming hostile yourself, or otherwise, avoid saying too much to an attorney that seems like he or she is your friend.
What is Asked at Deposition?
Depositions are taken in all kinds of cases, but they can seem particularly invasive in family law cases, just because family law cases by nature involve personal matters.
You can almost always anticipate being asked about your personal finances, your belongings, when you acquired your belongings, and how much you anticipate your belongings being worth. If alimony is in play, you can also anticipate being asked questions about how you lived when married. This can include questions that go into the minutia of how many vacations you took, what kind of products you purchased, and your monthly expenses.
If you are self employed or have a business, be prepared to answer questions about the business’ health, finances, expenses, and how much you make from the business.
If children are at issue, you can anticipate being quizzed about your involvement in the child’s life. It goes without saying you should know the things a parent is expected to know about his or her children. What is their favorite subject in school? What are the names of their teachers or coaches? What time do they go to bed at night? What are the names of their friends? You should also be well versed in your child’s medical history and medical needs.
Although nobody is making value judgments on how you live your life, if you are fighting for custody of kids, be prepared to answer some even more sensitive questions about your lifestyle, such as who you spend time with, who sleeps at your home (if you live separate from the other parent), and whether you use drugs or alcohol and with what frequency.
Our Tampa family law attorneys at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can help you through the toughest parts of your divorce or custody trial. Contact us today for help.