What is a deposition?
In a deposition, one party or that party’s lawyer conducts face-to-face questioning of the other party or a witness to the dispute.
The person being questioned (the “deponent”) must answer under oath, and the answers are recorded by a court reporter or possibly on video for later use at trial. If the deponent cannot testify at trial, the questions and answers might be read as evidence. If the deponent does testify and gives different answers at trial from those he gave during the deposition, the questions and answers can be used to show the jury that the witness changed his story bringing his credibility into question.
When a witness loses credibility it will tarnish the believably of his entire testimony.
When should a deposition be used?
Depositions can be under utilized in divorces…but possibly for good reasons. In situations where parties are amicable and have equal access to financial information, depositions are a waste of time and money. They should be used only in cases where the opposing party or their financial expert has information you want and need and are not freely providing it.
Some jurisdictions refer to a deposition simply as “testimony before trial” which is a much more descriptive term.
Why is a deposition important?
A deposition is a great tool to find out, in advance of hearing or trial, what a witness is likely to say in the future. You can find out:
- What a financial expert testifying for the opposing party will testify to at the hearing.
- How they rendered their opinions.
- If they have any financial documentation not yet in your files.
All of these realizations can and should assist your attorney and financial expert in preparing your case before it is argued in front of a judge.
How can Wellspring Divorce Advisors help with this process?
Your Wellspring Divorce Advisor can even attend the deposition of your former spouse or their financial expert and assist your attorney in questioning the witness. Depositions can be a powerful means of gathering financial information when one party is at a disadvantage.