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7 Ways To Protect Yourself When Being Deposed

April 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Family Law

During your divorce, you may find yourself getting deposed by your spouse’s divorce or family law attorney.  If that’s the case, it’s normal to be nervous about being deposed in your divorce or after finding out that you’re getting deposed in your divorce. The deposition process can be very intimidating. However, preparing ahead of time with your divorce or family law attorney can reduce anxiety, and give you a better sense of what to expect when you’re getting deposed. In addition, here are 7 helpful tips to remember when you’re being deposed.

Deposed Getting Deposed in a Minnesota Divorce

What to Do When You’re Being Deposed

1. Be honest.

Although you may not be in a court room, you’re still under oath during a deposition. Thus, if you lie, falsify information, make false statements, etc… while you’re being deposed, it’s a serious offense and considered perjury. In addition, any inconsistencies can and likely will be used against you later or if there is a trial.

2. Answer only what the deposing lawyer asks you.

It’s not uncommon for people to talk a lot when they get nervous. However, when you’re being deposed, resist the urge to story tell. If you’re a person who is used to giving lots of details, keep it simple by focusing your response solely on answering the question at hand.

3. “I don’t know” and “I don’t understand” are perfectly acceptable answers if they are true.

If you don’t know, can’t recall, or don’t understand, say so. It’s the deposing lawyer’s job to ask questions that you will be able to answer or clarify questions you don’t understand. Sometimes, people feel so pressured to give an answer or think it’s bad if they don’t know – that they make a guess, an assumption or they speculate. But that can be a costly mistake! It’s much harder to change your answer later in court, than it is to expand your answer after uncovering more information at a later date.

4. Stick to your guns if it’s the truth.

Don’t allow the deposing lawyer to twist your answers or get you to answer something that you don’t believe is right. For instance, an inexperienced deposing attorney may ask you a question that assumes untruthful facts, in hopes that by responding to the question, you’re agreeing to those untruthful facts.

5. Be patient.

Listen carefully and completely to each question from the deposing lawyer before answering. Sometimes, silence can feel so uncomfortable that we fill it with “Umms…” until we’ve processed the question. However, it’s okay to pause a second so you can collect yourself, process the question and provide a thoughtful response. In fact, you may find it advantageous to pause (briefly) after each question, even if the question is incredibly easy (such as your date of birth) so that you’re less pressured when a more complex question comes along. Lastly, another benefit of taking your time and waiting to completely hear the question is that you give your attorney the opportunity to object to inappropriate or unnecessary questions.

6. Remain calm.

During a divorce or family law deposition, be aware of emotionally-provoking questions. A brief pause to take a few deep breaths is better than an aggressive outburst that you can’t take back. Besides making you look bad, interrupting and/or talking over the questioner makes it difficult for the court reporter to type and make an accurate record of the deposition. In addition, do you really want the opposing attorney to know what pushes your buttons so that s/he can use it against you later at trial?

7. Be Professional.

Some people get so nervous about presenting themselves in a desirable light that they become overly friendly during the deposition. Others, don’t take the deposition seriously enough and tell jokes. Instead, you want to act in a professional manner. Show courtesy to those involved and be polite in your interactions. Avoid swear words and sarcastic responses during the deposition. Just like you don’t have to like a co-worker, but you need to respect him/her – the same applies to the other party, the deposing attorney, the court reporter, etc… during a deposition.

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