What to expect during a deposition

The purpose of a deposition is to establish the facts, issues and circumstances of the case as each party sees it. The testimony given at deposition should match that which will be given at trial. The deposition will take place either at an attorney's office or the office of the court reporter. 

Usually both spouses and attorneys are present, along with the court reporter. At the deposition, testimony will be taken under oath, in much the same manner as it will at trial. Opposing counsel will ask the deponent a series questions and the court reporter will take down the questions and your answers.

Generally a deposition is taken to get the opposing party’s side of the story. In family law, emotions are typically heightened as the post important aspects of an individual’s life is exposed. Issues such as child custody, alimony, equitable distribution, child support, and just the overall toll divorce takes on an individual can complicate an individual’s interpretation of events.

For instance, one party can view facts in a completely different light as the other party. It is important that your attorney has both sides of the story before trial. Also, depositions are commonly used in place of live testimony for certain witnesses, in trial. For example, if child custody is in dispute, one party may want to call the child’s pediatrician as a witness. Typically doctor’s are not fond of having to appear in court to testify. Instead, a deposition of the doctor is taken and submitted as testimony to the Court. Before making a decision, the Court will read the deposition of the doctor and take his or her testimony into consideration when rendering a ruling. Using a deposition in place of live testimony is also helpful when it comes to what the court refers to as “judicial economy.” In other words, how well time is managed in Court.

Because a deposition is simply given to the judge to review after trial, it frees up time for other witnesses who are testifying live. If you are having your deposition taken, follow these tips to make it go as smoothly as possible:

  • Listen to the question
  • If you don’t know the answer, simply say, I don’t know. Don’t try to guess.
  • Take your time in answering the question, there are no time limits and the record transcript of your testimony will not indicate how much time you took in answering.
  • Lastly, wait until the attorney finishes asking you the question before you start to answer. The two reasons for this is so that you can hear the full question and also because the court reporter is taking down your what everyone is saying.

For more information about this topic or to speak with an experiences attorney about your case, contact our office at (904) 722-3333 to schedule a free consultation about your matter.