It’s natural to be nervous the day before your divorce deposition. After all, the session is going to be recorded and there’s going to be a transcript of everything you say. You’re worried your husband’s lawyer may try to use your words against you. So how can you make sure to give your best testimony to get what you want in the divorce?
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is part of the discovery process of a case, and it is a chance for attorneys to ask the opposing party—and other witnesses—questions in order to discover all the facts of the case before the trial. You will be asked questions about your marriage and property by your husband’s attorney, but your attorney should also be present to object to any questions on your behalf. All testimony is given under oath and may be used as evidence in court.
Tips for Giving Your Best Testimony at a Deposition
- Listen carefully – Your husband’s attorney will likely ask questions tailored to make you answer in a certain way. Only answer the question that has been asked, taking as much time as you need to answer.
- Always tell the truth – Anything you say that is not truthful will be used to discredit you, especially since you have sworn to tell the truth.
- Keep your answers short – Try to keep your answers to a simple yes or no. If the attorney needs further information, they will ask you for it.
- Stay calm – If you become agitated or off-balance, it will be easier for the other attorney to manipulate you into giving an emotional answer instead of a factual one.
- Be direct – If you do not understand any questions, say so. The attorney will rephrase the question. Do not attempt to guess at the answer if you’re not 100 percent sure what is being asked.
- Answer clearly – Avoid nodding or shaking your head in response to questions.
- Take a break – If you need more time to think about a question or are becoming tired and losing focus, you can ask for a break at any time.
- Listen to your lawyer – If your attorney tells you not to answer a question or recommends a break, do it. Your attorney has done this before and is acting in your best interests.
The best preparation you can take is to be clear-headed on the day of the deposition. Get plenty of sleep the night before, and avoid any medications that make you tired or can impair your judgment. Dress professionally, but choose an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident. You should also avoid drinking coffee if it makes you overly chatty or jittery—you may answer questions too quickly as a result.
Want more tips on preparing for your court date? Read through our FREE e-book, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Divorce in Washington, to learn how to protect your assets.