Discovery is the process of acquiring vital information from and about your spouse or co-parent in a divorce or child custody case, respectively. It allows both parties to have a complete picture of the other party’s financial position and to obtain any information necessary to build their case. In Texas, one common form of discovery is a deposition.
A deposition is a one-sided interview under oath that takes place outside of a courtroom but in front of a court reporter. The lawyer requesting the deposition will ask the other party questions. The spouse or parent answering the questions is the deponent in a deposition. The court reporter transcribes the questions and answers, then creates a deposition transcript that the asking party can use in the trial.
What you need to know before proceeding with your deposition
If you have an upcoming deposition, prepare yourself. It is an incredibly stressful experience for anyone. The other party can ask questions about your finances, relationships, parenting and even sexual behavior. Below are tips that may help with your divorce or custody deposition:
- You are under oath, so be honest and always answer with the truth
- Listen to the questions carefully before providing an answer
- Only answer a question if you know the answer
- Always be sure of your answer
- If you do not understand the question, you can ask for clarification
- Answer questions briefly and choose your words wisely
- Avoid volunteering more information than they are asking
- Remain calm
Depositions can be more challenging than a trial because the questions have lesser limitations. The other party will find ways to establish fault in a divorce or to prove you may be unfit to have custody of the children.
You know yourself more than anyone
The attorney asking you questions may be trying to catch you in a lie or make it appear like you do not know what you are talking about. They may try to ruin your credibility. Whatever information the attorney has comes from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You know the answers to these questions more than anyone.