Some California divorces are able to reach a settlement outside of court or alternative dispute resolution, but most aren’t finalized this easily. Rather when a divorce is contested the couple must undergo many of the due diligence and other procedural requirements of a trial, including the taking of depositions.
During a deposition, the opposing counsel representing your spouse will ask a series of questions. You, not your Newport Beach CA divorce lawyer, must provide the answers to these questions. The answers you provide during a divorce deposition or hearing are taken under oath and can be later used as your sworn testimony. This means the responses you give are of great importance.
While your California lawyer is barred from answering for you during the deposition, he or she can help you prepare beforehand. A Newport Beach CA divorce lawyer can provide a set of typical questions asked during deposition and practice your answers. As well, for any question you’re asked during a California divorce deposition, these five tips should be followed.
#1: Listen Carefully to Each Question
During a deposition, the lawyer representing your spouse will ask you a multitude of questions. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce these questions may cover finances, children, third-party relationships, and events occurring during your marriage. How you answer these questions is of great importance, and equally important is that you should only answer the question asked.
Therefore, it is imperative that you fully hear and understand each question. Do not attempt to speak over opposing counsel and when necessary ask for clarity. Your Newport Beach CA divorce lawyer will be seated next to you during the deposition and can ensure the questions are straightforward.
#2: Keep Calm During Your Testimony
Divorce proceedings can unearth a myriad of emotions. It’s possible that you’ll feel frustrated, sad, acquiescent, and disappointed within a short period of time. This rollercoaster of emotional responses is most evident during face-to-face and contentious parts of a California divorce process, such as during the deposition or hearing in a California divorce court.
However, even as emotions rise, particularly negative reactions, you need to stay calm during a deposition. When you allow emotional reactions to infiltrate your answers, the responses become muddled, unclear and open to misinterpretation. These are the exact reactions that some divorce lawyers look for to help your spouse’s case, but will hurt yours. Instead, when you start to feel emotional during a deposition, your Newport Beach CA divorce lawyer can request a break in the questions and answers, while you regain composure and sense of calm.
#3: Keep Your Responses Honest
You can’t lie during your divorce deposition. Even when your answer may hurt part of your case or put assets or shared property at risk, you must provide a truthful and accurate answer to the questions asked by opposing counsel. When you are forced to expose or admit information negative to your position in the divorce, your Newport Beach CA divorce lawyer can help find opposing information or facts that balance the situation to present in court.
While keeping your answers honest there are two other tips for handling negative information or facts in a divorce case. First, always tell your California divorce lawyer about potentially complicated or negative facts and circumstances. Already aware of the situation, your lawyer can help you prepare the best answers to difficult questions or carefully craft your responses. Second, only provide an answer to the exact question asked during the deposition.
#4: You Can Answer with “I Don’t Know” or “I Don’t Remember”
Your divorce lawyer will be in the best position to advise you on the appropriate way to answer specific questions. Depending on the facts impacting your divorce and the final divorce settlement, your lawyer may even develop a strategy for answering all questions. As you go through this process, keep in mind that opposing counsel may ask certain questions you simply don’t know how to answer.
When you are asked a question that would require you to speculate or invent information, you must still provide a response for the record. However, the appropriate response might be, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care.”
#5: The Best Answers are Short and Succinct
Finally, keep your responses short and succinct. Only answer the exact question asked by the lawyer and don’t provide unnecessary information.
At the Law Offices of John A. Bledsoe, we help keep our clients on track during every part of the divorce proceedings, including a divorce deposition. A highly experienced Newport Beach CA divorce lawyer will handle your case, and help you prepare for the most complicated and emotional parts of your divorce. To speak with one of these highly qualified divorce lawyers, contact our Newport Beach firm at 949-363-5551.