5 More Tips for Success in Your California Divorce Deposition

Are you prepared for your divorce deposition? This article will help get you ready. It is part 2 of a two-part list.

This article will suggest general best practices for witnesses in a divorce deposition with ideas that were originally published here: https://natlawreview.com/article/help-how-do-i-prepare-divorce-deposition. See also https://www.americanbar.org/groups/government_public/publications/public-lawyer/2022-winter/effective-witness-preparation/

Never volunteer information.

  • It is the opposing counsel’s job to ask the questions and your job to answer them. Do not help the other side by volunteering information.

Do not guess when responding to a question.

  • Witnesses often feel pressured to know the answer to everything, but you can only answer to the things you actually know.
  • Make sure you understand the question itself and ask for more clarification if needed.
  • If you do not remember, then just say that you do not remember.
  • If you do not know the answer, then just say that you do not know.

Ask to see the document.

  • If the attorney is asking you about an email, text, or document (such as a report or a statement), ask to see the document. You are not expected to remember everything, and it will benefit you to have the document in front of you.
  • Even if the attorney has not referenced a document, you can preemptively strike by asking if there are any documents that they are aware of that relate to their question to refresh your recollection.
  • If the attorney insists that the document states a certain fact, you can ask him or her to point to you the section they are referencing. Many witnesses may feel pressured just to agree without holding the opposing counsel accountable to identify where in the document they are referencing.

Ignore the opposing counsel’s nonverbal manipulations.

  • Sometimes attorneys use ploys to try to get you to second guess your answer or to feel uncomfortable. This could be in the form of silence, a tilted head, raised eyebrows, a stare of disbelief or a look of shock. Ignore these cues and wait for the next question. Do not fill the silence with words.

Stick to your answer.

  • The opposing attorney may ask you the same question ten different ways to try to get you to change your answer. Watch out for the attorney saying, “I can’t remember if I asked you this, but…” They are either trying to get a different answer from you or trying to emphasize something they think is important to their case. If your original answer was accurate, stick to it.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law. We will be by your side in all phases of your divorce process, including preparing for your deposition. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.