What if I Have to Testify in a Divorce Deposition in Illinois?
Most people getting divorced in Illinois agree on factual matters: How much assets are worth, how much money each spouse makes, how much they have saved for retirement. Although there may be conflict around how to divide assets and allocate parental responsibilities, few spouses disagree about the facts.
However, some spouses do disagree about important facts, especially if one spouse is suspected of being dishonest about finances. When this happens, a judge must hear the arguments from spouses, their attorneys, and even third parties, and then determine what is true. Although spouses can use documents such as employment contracts and bank statements to support their position, divorce attorneys still need to obtain testimony to authenticate or rebut such documents. To avoid having their clients give testimony for the first time in court, attorneys can gather testimony under oath using something called a “deposition.”
What is a Deposition in an Illinois Divorce?
Depositions are an important part of the discovery phase of divorce. During discovery, each spouse’s attorney gathers information from each other and their own clients. The information obtained during the discovery phase is used to negotiate or litigate divorce cases, so the attorney taking the deposition will try to entice the person getting questioned (the “deponent”) to offer as much information as possible.
Most divorce depositions are discovery depositions, meaning that the attorney taking the deposition can ask questions to try to obtain discoverable information. Then, if there is a difference between a deposition and evidence from another source (such as if a spouse says they are making $250,000 a year when their employment contract shows they are making $450,000 a year), the difference can be used to discredit the spouse in a trial or even find the spouse guilty of perjury (lying under oath).
How Can I Prepare for a Deposition?
A great attorney will always prepare their client for a deposition by doing practice depositions and anticipating the other party’s questions. However, there are some important things to remember during a deposition:
- Always tell the truth and do not guess if you do not know an answer
- Pause to think before answering
- Ask for a break if you need one
- Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question
- Do not volunteer more information than what is asked for
Although depositions can be stressful, with appropriate planning they can be manageable and even helpful to your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL Divorce Deposition Lawyer
The experienced Kane County divorce attorneys at Shaw Family Law, P.C. know that preparing to give testimony at a deposition can be intimidating. We will work hard to prepare you and make sure you know everything you need to know before taking the stand. Call our conveniently located Randall Road offices today to schedule a free initial consultation and find out more. Contact us at 630-584-5550.