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A discovery deposition is a significant part of the divorce proceeding, since opposing counsel gains pertinent information regarding what you will testify to at the trial and also an impression of the type of witness you will make at trial. Often, cases are settled on the basis of the evidence that is given at a deposition. Remember that the first opportunity opposing counsel will have to see how you come across as a witness will be at the deposition.
1. Since we are attempting to make a good impression on opposing counsel, you should appear dressed for the deposition the same way that you would dress for court.
2. The most important thing to remember at a deposition is to listen carefully to the question asked of you, answer that question and only that question, and then stop your testimony. For example, if you are asked the date of a certain occurrence, state the date, but do not go on to comment on the weather on that date. Again, answer the question asked and that question only.
3. Don't attempt to engage in a battle of wits with the opposing lawyer no matter how you feel about the lawyer or your soon to be ex spouse.
4. If you do not understand a question put to you, state so, and the question must then be put into other words by the opposing attorney. You are not required to answer any question that you do not understand.
5. Often, questions deal with dates, amounts of money on deposit, and other similar matters. You may not know the precise date or the precise figure. If you do not know, you should say so.
6. If you clearly do not remember an incident or do not know certain facts, you should state so. "I do not know" and "I do not remember" are legitimate answers.
7. You should not volunteer any information. After the question is asked, answer it and STOP. If you can answer a question with a "Yes" or a "No," you should do so, and then STOP.
8. Remember that in a deposition, you are under an oath to tell the truth. You must tell the truth. If you believe you may be deposed on areas that may be damaging to you and you do not wish to reveal the facts, you should discuss these areas with your lawyer before the deposition. See my last blog, "What Should I Expect at My Discovery Deposition?"
9. For various reasons, your lawyer may object to a question asked of you at the deposition. If your lawyer does object, you should stop testifying until he or she has made the objection. At the end of the objection, your lawyer will instruct you as to whether you should answer the question or not answer it.
10. You should testify only as to facts and not as to opinions.
11. You may become concerned that due to the way which a question is phrased, if you give only that answer to the question, the complete truth will not come out. You should not concern yourself with this. You should only answer the question put to you. If I believe that in order to obtain a fair reading of the deposition, certain other information should be made part of the deposition, your lawyer will have an opportunity to ask you questions as a part of the record of the deposition after the opposing counsel asks you questions. In other words at the end of the deposition.
If you are in need of an experienced divorce lawyer, contact the Hinsdale law firm of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855.