Divorce Depositions Do’s and Dont’s
Having your deposition taken during your divorce can be a scary and uncomfortable event. After all, it is essentially the opportunity, in an adversarial setting, for a professional to interrogate you. But, with these helpful tips, you can maximize your risk of success!
DO prepare for your deposition with your lawyer. Preparation sessions give you the opportunity to know what to expect, but, more importantly, the opportunity to practice responses. In some situations, a “mock deposition” where your attorney asks you real questions and demands answers may even be useful.
DON’T rush. Deponents often tend to try and guess the next question and answer too quickly. Your deposition isn’t a race. When asked a question, take a pause, just enough to take a deep breath, and then answer. That will ensure that you don’t spit out an answer you regret later. Furthermore, your attorney may object to a question, and you need to give him/her time to do so.
DO take breaks when necessary. You have every right to take a break when you need one. Be assertive and ask.
DON’T ask for a break constantly or directly after a difficult question has been asked.
DO be prepared for a long day. Pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-411, your deposition can last for up to seven (7) hours. It may seem like sitting in a chair and answering questions is not tiring, but this author can assure you that you will be physically and mentally exhausted after a long deposition. Depositions require a high level of focus and staying that attentive for a long period of time will most certainly take its toll.
DON’T answer a question that wasn’t asked of you. If the question requires a yes or no answer, your answer should generally be yes or no. If an explanation is required, another question will be asked. If you don’t get the chance to explain something you believe you needed to, just let your attorney know after the deposition, and your attorney can deal with that issue at trial.
DO remember that a deposition is supposed to feel uncomfortable. You may leave your deposition thinking that you should have answered certain questions in a different way, or provided better detail, or been more composed. That is natural. Remember that your deposition is unilateral in the sense that opposing counsel asks you questions without the opportunity to have your attorney follow up, which is not what will happen at trial.