What is a Divorce Deposition, and How Do I Prepare?
Facing an upcoming divorce deposition can be nerve-wracking, especially when you have no idea what to expect. Here's a brief breakdown of what a divorce deposition is, why you might need to go through one, and how to prepare.
What is a divorce deposition?
A divorce deposition is a formal, sworn statement made by the divorcing parties. The statement is made in front of a court reporter who records and transcribes the testimony.
During this process, the asking party may question either spouse. This is often done for discovery purposes, such as to gather evidence for potential future legal proceedings.
A deposition may take place in an informal setting or a divorce courtroom, depending on the complexity of the divorce case. Each party may elect to have an attorney present.
While the deposition can feel like a formal court proceeding, it's slightly less formal. No judge is present, so there is no judge’s ruling to think about. However, you will answer questions under oath, and your spouse will do the same.
When is a deposition necessary in divorce?
Depositions are critical to the divorce discovery process, as they allow both parties to present evidence. This evidence may include ownership proof of assets or information about issues such as child custody and spousal support.
A divorce deposition also gives you the chance to investigate whether your spouse is attempting to hide assets. Some spouses try to do this to reduce the amount of alimony or child support they must pay or to protect themselves financially, albeit unfairly. Going through the deposition process can help you achieve a more even split of your marital assets since both parties get information about all assets on the table for splitting.
Depositions in divorce aren't always necessary. They're typically used in contested divorces where parties need outside help with the terms of their settlement agreement. As for uncontested divorce, a deposition may not be required in this type of case.
How can I prepare for my divorce deposition?
When preparing for a divorce deposition, it’s important to have the following documents ready:
- Financial records such as bank statements, tax documents, and credit reports
- Any prenuptial agreement signed before the marriage
- Statements from witnesses and other relevant parties
- Letters, emails, or text messages exchanged between spouses during the marriage
- Records of spousal support payments
- Court orders related to the divorce
During a divorce deposition, you may be asked questions about your marriage and pending divorce. Common topics that may come up include the following:
- Details of your marriage
- The nature of the disputes between yourself and your spouse
- The responsibilities and duties held by each person in the marriage
- Your reasons for wanting a divorce
- Financial information pertaining to assets, debts, income, and expenses
- Details of any agreements made during discussions with your spouse over the division of assets and liabilities
Gathering this information is important. It provides both you and your spouse with an overview of the circumstances that led to the divorce and clarity about your next steps. It also promotes fair distribution of marital assets by making transparent disclosures about each party's financial situation.
A divorce deposition can seem like an overwhelming process. At Hello Divorce, we’re here to help. We offer numerous divorce-related services including flat-rate online divorce plans, legal advice via online attorney consultations, divorce coaching, and professional divorce mediation. Schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more about what we offer.