If you are contesting child custody in your divorce case, your spouse's divorce lawyer may ask you questions during a deposition. Likewise, your attorney may ask your spouse questions pertaining to child custody matters. Before you complete your deposition, review this list of questions about child custody that you may encounter during your deposition on the subject.
10 Tips and Strategies for a Father and Mother to Handle a Deposition for Divorce
1. Only Answer the Question Asked
There is no obligation to volunteer additional information. There is also no need to explain or justify any response as long as the question asked is answered. You do not want to run the risk of giving away any additional information to opposing counsel. If your attorney instructs you not to answer a question, do not answer the question.
2. Take All the Time You Need to Answer
Make sure to think through your response before saying it aloud. It is perfectly acceptable to take time to organize your thoughts before you respond. Do not feel pressured into answering before composing your response.
3. Do Not Speculate
It is okay to say that you do not know the answer. It is far better to say “I don’t know” rather than to guess or make up an answer.
4. Keep a Level Head
This can become an emotional experience; however, it is important to stay calm to the best of your ability. You don’t want to mistakenly say something out of anger which could hurt you later in the proceedings. If you find yourself getting heated, it is acceptable for you to ask for a break.
5. Ask for Clarification if You Do Not Understand the Question
If you do not understand the question, then it is important to either ask for clarification or a rewording of the question. Do not answer a question you do not fully understand.
6. Be Prepared
It is important to meet with your attorney well in advance before the deposition. This meeting would be the best time to ask more details about the deposition, examples of questions asked, and how best to prepare to answer the questions. The night before the deposition try to get a good night’s sleep, and the day of the deposition make sure to eat a good breakfast and stay hydrated to help keep the nerves at bay.
7. It is Okay if You Do Not Remember
Although it is important to prepare for the deposition, it is acceptable if you do not recall a specific detail. Simply answer that you do not remember. This is another instance where it is better to admit that you do not remember rather than speculate.
8. No Surprises
Now is not the time to bring in any new information. It is important to disclose all important and relevant information to your attorney well in advance of your deposition.
9. Don’t Be Funny
Your deposition is a serious and significant proceeding. Although it may be tempting at time to cut the tension with humor, this is not the time. It is better to remain calm and collected the entirety of the proceeding.
10. Above All: Be Honest
All answers you provide during the deposition are under oath. Lying under oath is a crime called perjury. Additionally, any changes or disputes to the answers provided can become a basis for the opposing party to paint you as untruthful or deceptive. It is better to tell the truth rather than risk a lie.
The attorneys of Smith Strong, PLC are experienced in all facets of divorce mediations. Our attorneys can advise you about whether mediation is the right path for you and if so, what you need to do to prepare. Please call one of our offices at (804) 325-1245 (Richmond) or (757) 941-4298 (Williamsburg).