In Family Law litigation, a deposition may be utilized to obtain information from a party under oath. Illinois law authorizes the use of deposition to identify and discover facts about the case. The prospect of being questioned under oath can make some clients uneasy. On the other hand, a deposition can be a good practice run for testifying at court.
In general, a deposition consists of an opposing attorney asking you a series of oral questions in the presence of a court reporter. Similar to any testimony that you would give in court, you are under oath during the deposition. One of your attorneys will be present and may make objections to certain questions. If an objection is made by an attorney during the deposition, it is advisable to wait until the objection is completed and then follow the instructions of your attorney. It is also important that you answers the questions clearly and succinctly so that an accurate record can be created.
The following tips are suggestions that may be useful to you as you prepare for your deposition:
1. Prepare – review your records and file contents before the deposition.
2. Avoid surprises by evaluating all of your evidence with your attorney prior to the deposition.
3. Never respond to a question by stating that you did or said something “on the advice of my attorney”. This may raise an issue of confidentiality between you and your attorney.
4. Control facial expressions.
5. Verbally answer the questions to create a good record.
6. Only answer the questions which have been asked.
7. State the truth, do not extrapolate.
8. Don’t volunteer information.
9. Take a break if you need it.
10. Don’t guess. Admit if you don’t know the answer to the question.
11. If you don’t understand a question, say so. The question can be reread, clarified or rephrased.
12. Think about your answer.
13. Listen to the question.
14. Listen to your lawyer.
15. Review documents put in front of you. Don’t assume they are correct or that you know what the documents say.
16. Stay strong – you can do this.
17. Don’t be intimidated by the presence of your ex or soon-to-be ex spouse.
19. Remember that this is just a step in the process, and it gets you one step closer to the conclusion
20. Conduct yourself in a business like manner even though the issues may be emotional.
We invite you to contact our office to discuss any aspects of your legal proceedings. Call us today for a consultation regarding your matter.