Things to Remember If You Are Asked Personal Questions in Your Deposition

Nobody wants to answer prying questions about their personal life, but part of a divorce deposition involves fielding personal questions and deciding whether or not you should answer them. Here are a few questions that you should think carefully about before answering:

  • Official information. After you are asked to state your name, address, and date of birth at the beginning of your testimony, an attorney may ask you if you are taking any medication that would affect your ability to answer questions. This may be relevant, but is also asking you to reveal your medication use.
  • Health and lifestyle questions. You may be asked questions about your health, especially during a custody case where a primary caregiver has not been chosen. An attorney may ask about your mental and physical health, whether you have a will (and if you are willing to produce it), specific treatments for any illnesses your ex-spouse has told him about, and any clubs or groups you belong to that could discredit you.
  • School and career – You may be asked which degrees you hold and honors you have achieved. This is often a precursor to asking about your job, including the number of hours you work per week and the security of your position.
  • Friends and significant others. You may be asked about personal relationships with a significant other or close friends (particularly if your spouse doesn’t like them). These questions may include your living situation, if joint money was used to pay for gifts, trips, or bills for your significant other, or if you have lent or received money from any of your friends.
  • Questions about your spouse. You may agree that your spouse was good at running the house, paying the bills, helping you with your business and taking care of the children, but answering these questions may not be relevant and only serve to make your ex-spouse more sympathetic.

What Should I Do If I Object to a Personal Question During the Deposition?

The deposing attorney can ask any question he or she likes, but you do not necessarily have to answer them. If you believe that the attorney has asked an irrelevant question, you can object to the question, or ask your attorney how to proceed. If you object, the deposing attorney will either have to explain why the question is relevant, or drop the question. For more ways to prepare for your deposition, download a FREE copy of one of our book, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Divorce in Washington or the The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Divorce in Washington.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
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