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Understanding how a divorce deposition works

The ideal divorce scenario is for couples to resolve their issues with little to no conflict. Unfortunately, this is not the reality of most cases.

Between financial discrepancies and child custody disputes, divorcing parties often disagree on countless concerns. Thus, a deposition is one of the ways to address such contentions.

It is a discovery tool that soon-to-be ex-spouses can use to obtain relevant information through the other party or a witness. The acquired statements can later serve as evidence for potential proceedings. Thus, knowing how it takes place can help parties prepare and determine if it is necessary for their situation.

What happens during a divorce deposition?

Illinois’ deposition process begins when a requesting party notifies the deposed person or the “deponent” in writing and reasonably in advance. The notification must include the date and time the procedure will take place.

It usually happens at an attorney’s office in the county where the deponent lives or works. Simply put, it is like a warm-up for the official trial. Present in the room are both spouses, their respective legal representatives and a court reporter.

After the deponent swears under oath to answer truthfully, the reporter records and transcribes the entire deposition. How long it lasts typically depends on the line of questioning’s complexity.

What are the common questions during a divorce deposition?

Questions may start on broad topics, gradually working their way through more contentious specifics. Some frequent examples include:

  • What is the status of your finances, such as sources of income, assets or debts?
  • How do you plan to sustain your current living situation after the divorce?
  • How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your child, and create a safe and supportive home environment for them?

These samples only provide a glimpse of what to expect. Questioning parties can prepare their queries ahead and dive deep to extract the necessary details. On the other hand, deponent spouses can anticipate the flow of discussion and answer as clearly as possible. As they are legally bound to provide accurate statements, they can also seek further clarification before saying anything conclusive.

How can a deposition move the divorce forward?

A deposition can be a strategic mechanism to learn how the other party or a witness talks, behaves or reacts prior to the trial. As a result, lawyers can decide based on the testimony’s strengths and weaknesses if moving on to a hearing will be advisable. Given the financially draining and time-consuming process, it will be wise for spouses and their counsels to weigh whether pursuing court action is worth the trouble.

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