QUESTION: How do I stay calm during my divorce deposition when my ex has told extreme lies about me?
My ex gave his depo first. He said things that made my jaw drop -complete and utter lies. I can disprove some of them, but not all of them. His attorney is very inexperienced and this is his first divorce case. This causes him to be overzealous and borderline abusive during his line of questioning.
ANSWER: The better you understand this process, the better prepared you are, the more confident and serene you’ll be.
Your deposition is not the time or place to “settle scores” or to “set the record straight.” Your deposition is a time for you to be questioned. You do not editorialize. You do not “anticipate” where the attorney examining you may be going. You answer questions simply and you simply answer questions.
If the examining attorney asks questions that leave a false or incomplete impression as to the facts, DO NOT get defensive and start yammering on and on—that’s what the examining attorney likely wants you to do. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine you about what you said during direct examination so that the full picture is seen. Wait for cross examination.
If your attorney has not sat you down and gone through a “mock” deposition (or two) to give you an idea of how the questioning may go, to help you figure out how to answer questions truthfully and without that deer in the headlights look and feel, and to get practice in listening and responding to questions, then schedule such a meeting with your lawyer right now. Depositions are not as simple and easy as they look.
Your lawyer cannot tell you how to answer the substance of questions, but can show you how depositions work and how to answer any question skillfully, as well as truthfully. Prepare. Practice. It’s essential.
Get online and read and get on YouTube and watch as many “what to expect in your deposition” and “how to behave in a deposition.” Understand how the process works, why it’s structured as it is, and how depositions can work against the unprepared deponent.
It is astonishing how bad a bad deposition can make you like and how much damage it can do your case, especially when preparing for a deposition doesn’t take that much time or effort.
Finally, remember this: despite your best efforts to prepare, your deposition can—except on rare occasion—only hurt you. The purpose of your deposition is not to blow the other party away, it’s to survive it with your integrity intact and without sabotaging your case.
Utah Family Law, LC │ divorceutah.com │ 801-466-9277