Should You Ask for Spousal Support?

“Flip or Flop” star Christina Haack and Joshua Hall each filed for divorce Tuesday in an Orange County court. Joshua requested spousal support (also known as alimony) and asked to terminate the court’s ability to award support to Christina, while Christina’s petition requested the court to terminate support for both parties. This case raises the question that faces many California divorce clients: Should you ask for spousal support?

This article will help you answer that question for yourself by providing an overview of spousal support based on information from Forbes’ guide on California alimony and the California Family Code Section 4320 and California Courts Self-Help Guide.

Types of Spousal Support

California recognizes two main types of spousal support:

  1. Temporary Spousal Support: This type of support is awarded during the divorce proceedings to help the lower-earning spouse maintain financial stability until the final divorce decree. The primary aim is to preserve the status quo during the litigation process.
  2. Permanent Spousal Support: Despite its name, this support is not necessarily lifelong. It is awarded once the divorce is finalized and is based on a variety of factors aimed at ensuring fairness and financial balance post-divorce.

Determining Spousal Support

The determination of spousal support in California is influenced by several factors, as outlined in California Family Code Section 4320. These factors help ensure a fair and equitable support arrangement:

  • Length of the Marriage: Generally, the duration of the marriage plays a significant role in determining the length and amount of support. Marriages lasting ten years or more are often considered “long-term,” which can lead to longer support durations.
  • Standard of Living: The court aims to ensure that both parties can maintain a lifestyle similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage. This involves assessing the standard of living established during the union.
  • Earning Capacity and Job Market: The court evaluates the earning capacity of both spouses, including their marketable skills, job market conditions, and any need for additional education or training.
  • Age and Health: The age and health of both parties are crucial factors, as these can impact their ability to earn an income and meet their financial needs.
  • Contributions to the Marriage: Non-economic contributions, such as homemaking and supporting the other spouse’s career or education, are considered when determining support.
  • Financial Needs and Obligations: The financial obligations and needs of both spouses, including debts and assets, are taken into account to ensure a balanced support arrangement.

Duration of Spousal Support

The duration of spousal support in California varies. For marriages lasting less than ten years, support typically lasts for half the length of the marriage. For longer marriages, the court has more discretion and may award support for a longer period. The goal is to provide the lower-earning spouse with enough time to become self-sufficient.

Modifications and Termination

Spousal support orders are not set in stone and can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, employment status, or financial needs. Spousal support typically ends upon the remarriage of the recipient or the death of either party. Additionally, cohabitation with a new partner can also impact the support arrangement.

Retain an Experienced Family Law Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of California family law and can help you decide whether to seek spousal support in your divorce. We focus on serving clients in Solano, Napa and Yolo. Contact us today at 707-451-4502. For more information and assistance with spousal support and other family law matters, visit

How to Bring Up a Prenup Without Sounding Like a Jerk

Bringing up a prenuptial agreement can be a sensitive topic for many couples, but this article will discuss suggestions on how to approach this difficult conversation, with ideas originally published in a HuffPost article entitled, “How to Bring Up a Prenup without Sounding Like a Jerk.”

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal document that outlines how a couple’s assets will be divided in the event of a divorce and a postnuptial agreement is the same, but agreed to after marriage. Why would you want to bring up a prenup or postnup? According to a CDC report, over a 10-year period, 43% of marriages end in divorce, so understanding your financial risks and liabilities in advance of divorce can be very helpful to streamline the divorce process later on.

Timing is Everything

When bringing up a prenup, timing is crucial. Avoid discussing it during high-stress moments or when you’re in a heated argument. Choose a calm, private setting where both of you can talk openly without distractions. According to HuffPost, it’s best to start this conversation well before the wedding planning begins, giving both partners ample time to consider and discuss the agreement.

Frame it as a Joint Decision

Presenting the prenup as a mutual decision rather than a one-sided demand can help ease tension. Emphasize that a prenup is a way for both of you to protect your individual interests and the financial health of your marriage. For instance, you might say, “I think it would be good for us to talk about a prenup to make sure we’re both protected and clear on our financial expectations.”

Focus on the Positive

Highlight the benefits of having a prenup. Explain how it can provide peace of mind and prevent future conflicts. Mention that it’s not about mistrust but about being proactive and responsible. The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation suggests discussing financial matters openly as part of healthy relationship practices.

Be Honest and Transparent

Transparency is key when discussing a prenup. Share your reasons for wanting one and listen to your partner’s concerns. Avoid using ultimatums or making it seem like the prenup is non-negotiable. Instead, approach the conversation with empathy and a willingness to compromise.

Seek Professional Advice Together

Consider consulting with a financial advisor or attorney together. This can help ensure that both partners understand the legal aspects of the prenup and feel that their interests are being fairly represented. It also demonstrates that you’re taking a collaborative approach to the agreement.

Use Real-Life Examples

Sometimes, real-life examples can help illustrate the importance of a prenup. Share stories of friends or family members who have benefited from having one or faced difficulties because they didn’t. This can make the concept more relatable and less intimidating.

Reassure Your Commitment

Reiterate your commitment to your partner and the relationship. Make it clear that the prenup is not about doubting the marriage’s success but about protecting both of you in the future. Assure your partner that you’re in this together, and the prenup is just one part of a broader conversation about your future.

Follow Up

After the initial conversation, give your partner time to process the information. Follow up later to see how they’re feeling and to address any further questions or concerns. This ongoing dialogue can help build trust and ensure that both partners are comfortable with the decision.

Contact a California Family Lawyer

Bringing up a prenup is difficult, but with planning and consideration for each other, you can discuss a prenuptial agreement in a way that respects and values both partners’ perspectives. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, and we focus on serving clients in Solano, Napa and Yolo. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Says He Forces Prenups On Family

Kevin O’Leary recently made headlines when he appeared on Fox Business and revealed that he forces prenuptial agreements on his family and forbids them from merging finances with their partners. He explained, “You must, in this society, maintain your own financial identity. You have to. Because 50% of marriages end in divorce for financial stress over the first five years of marriage.” This article will discuss in depth why Kevin O’Leary says he forces prenups on family and why prenuptial agreements can be a good idea, not just for the rich and famous, but for any couple.

Why Kevin O’Leary Believes in Prenups

  • Clarity and Security:
    • Prenups provide a clear understanding of financial expectations and responsibilities.
    • They ensure that both parties know their financial rights and obligations.
    • This clarity helps prevent misunderstandings and disputes in the future.
  • Protecting Assets:
    • Prenups help protect family wealth and individual assets.
    • They ensure fair distribution of assets in case of divorce.
    • This protection is crucial for maintaining financial stability.
  • Open Communication:
    • Discussing and agreeing on financial matters before marriage fosters transparency.
    • Open communication about finances builds trust between partners.
    • It sets a foundation for honest financial discussions throughout the marriage.

For more detail from the O’Leary interview, check out this article from Yahoo Finance.

Prenups: Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements are not only for wealthy individuals or celebrities. NPR reports here that prenups are becoming more common among everyday couples. They can be particularly beneficial for these situations:

  • Second Marriages:
    • Prenups are common for individuals entering second marriages because they may have already accumulated significant assets or debts or may have concerns specific to their children, such as assets set aside for college.
  • Significant Assets or Debts:
    • Couples with significant assets or debts can benefit because a prenup can foster open communication and planning prior to marriage.
  • Fair Division of Assets:
    • They can reduce conflict and legal costs during a separation.

Debunking Prenup Myths

There are many myths surrounding prenuptial agreements that can deter couples from considering them. Business Insider debunks several common misconceptions:

  • Only for the Wealthy:
    • Myth: Prenups are only for the rich.
    • Reality: Prenups can benefit anyone, regardless of wealth.
  • Signify Lack of Trust:
    • Myth: Prenups mean you don’t trust your partner.
    • Reality: Prenups are practical tools for financial planning and security.
  • Complex and Unnecessary:
    • Myth: Prenups are overly complex and not needed.
    • Reality: Prenups can be straightforward and beneficial for clear financial planning.

David Knecht Law Can Help You

Whether you have significant assets or whether you are simply planning for the future, the attorneys at David Knecht Law can help you prepare a prenuptial agreement.  At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of California family law. We focus on serving clients in Solano, Napa and Yolo. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

Divorce Dilemma: To Settle or Go to Trial?

If you follow Hollywood divorces, you may have seen the story on MSN which reported that just one day prior to her passing from cancer, Shannen Doherty, finalized her divorce. Doherty is best known for her roles in “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed.” With the timing of her divorce settlement the day before her death, Doherty’s divorce has been in the public eye. Doherty, like most people engaged in a divorce, faced the classic divorce dilemma: To settle or go to trial?

This article will discuss the Doherty settlement and suggest ideas five steps to help you evaluate your own divorce case with ideas originally published by Forbes, in an article addressing this common divorce dilemma.

Doherty Settlement Details as per Fox News:

  • Asset division: Shannen Doherty retained ownership of certain assets, such as their Malibu home, three vehicles and four bank account s and 100% of the community property interest in retirement assets for her Screen Actor’s Guild pension plan.
  • Shannen’s image: Images of Doherty taken by Iswarienko are to be removed from his website, and he is “prohibited from exploiting the photographs” of Doherty.
  • Support: Prior to her death, Doherty claimed that her ex-husband, Kurt Iswarienko, was prolonging their divorce in hopes that she would die before he was required to pay her. See Fox News.  Both parties agreed to terminate support. For more details, visit US Magazine.

Step 1: Consider Your Priorities

  • Priorities: A key step in deciding whether to settle or litigate is to determine what your divorce priorities are and to see whether a settlement can address them.
  • The Doherty divorce is an interesting case study because the issue that reportedly was a main point of contention – ongoing support for Shannen Doherty – ended up being somewhat moot, considering that she died just a day after the divorce was settled.
  • None of us has a crystal ball, and the Doherty case illustrates the challenges in evaluating where to give and where to take in a divorce settlement.

Step 2: Analyze the Advantages of Settling in Your Case:

  • Cost-Effective: Settling outside of court can save significant legal fees and other costs associated with a lengthy trial.
  • Time-Saving: Settlements are typically faster than trials, allowing both parties to move on with their lives sooner.
  • Control: Couples have more control over the outcome, negotiating terms that work best for both parties rather than leaving decisions to a judge.
  • Privacy: Settling keeps personal matters out of public court records, maintaining privacy for the involved parties.

Step 3: Evaluate the Disadvantages of Settling in Your Case:

  • Potential for Unfairness: One party may agree to terms that are not entirely fair due to pressure or a desire to conclude the process quickly.
  • Lack of Finality: If not handled properly, settlements can leave issues unresolved, leading to future disputes.

Step 4: Weigh the Advantages of Going to Trial for You:

  • Legal Resolution: A judge makes decisions based on the law, which can be beneficial if one party is uncooperative or unreasonable.
  • Binding Decisions: Court decisions are legally binding and enforceable, providing a clear and definitive outcome.
  • Fairness: The court aims to be impartial, which can lead to a fairer distribution of assets and responsibilities.

Step 5: Forecast the Disadvantages of Going to Trial for You:

  • High Costs: Trials are expensive, with costs including attorney fees, court fees, and other expenses.
  • Time-Consuming: The trial process can be lengthy, often taking months or even years to reach a conclusion.
  • Stressful: The adversarial nature of trials can be emotionally draining for both parties.

Making the Decision

Deciding whether to settle or go to trial depends on various factors, including the complexity of the assets, the level of conflict, and the ability of both parties to negotiate fairly. Consulting with a knowledgeable divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Contact an Experienced California Divorce Attorney

Deciding whether to settle or go to trial depends on various factors, including the complexity of the assets, the level of conflict, and the ability of both parties to negotiate fairly. Consulting with a knowledgeable divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific situation. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of California family law. We focus on serving clients in Solano, Napa and Yolo. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

Is A Living Trust the Right Tool for Your Inheritance?

When planning for the future, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes is a critical step. One popular tool for estate planning in California is the revocable living trust. But is it really the best way to pass on your inheritance? Let’s explore the benefits and considerations of using a living trust, integrating insights from recent discussions and guides with information sourced from The Motley Fool.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A revocable living trust is a legal entity created to hold ownership of your assets. Unlike a will, which only takes effect after you die, a living trust is operational during your lifetime and can be altered or revoked at any time.

Benefits of a Living Trust

  1. Avoiding Probate: One of the most significant benefits of a living trust is that it helps your estate avoid probate. Probate is the legal process through which a will is validated and the deceased’s assets are distributed. This process can be lengthy, costly, and public. By placing assets in a living trust, you can bypass probate, allowing for a quicker and more private distribution of assets to your beneficiaries.
  2. Flexibility and Control: A living trust provides flexibility and control over your assets. You can specify how and when your beneficiaries receive their inheritance, which can be particularly useful if you have minor children or beneficiaries who may not be able to manage large sums of money responsibly.
  3. Incapacity Planning: A living trust also offers protection if you become incapacitated. If you are unable to manage your affairs due to illness or injury, your designated successor trustee can step in and manage the trust on your behalf without the need for court intervention.
  4. Privacy: Wills become public record once they go through probate, exposing your financial affairs to public scrutiny. A living trust, on the other hand, remains private, protecting your family’s privacy and financial information.

Considerations and Drawbacks

While living trusts offer many benefits, they are not without their drawbacks and considerations:

  1. Cost and Complexity: Setting up a living trust can be more expensive and complex than creating a will. There are upfront costs for drafting the trust document and ongoing costs for managing the trust. Additionally, you must retitle your assets into the name of the trust. The complexity and cost are key considerations to weigh against the benefits.
  2. Ongoing Management: A living trust requires active management. You need to ensure that any new assets acquired are transferred into the trust.
  3. Not Always Necessary: For some people, particularly those with smaller estates, the benefits of a living trust may not justify the costs and complexity. In such cases, other estate planning tools, such as a will combined with payable-on-death accounts and beneficiary designations, might be sufficient. Financial Samurai suggests evaluating your specific situation to determine if a living trust is the best solution.

When is a Living Trust the Best Option?

A living trust may be the best option if you:

  • Own property in multiple states, as it can simplify the transfer process and avoid probate in each state.
  • Have a complex family situation, such as children from multiple marriages, where you need to clearly outline your wishes to avoid disputes.
  • Want to ensure privacy for your estate and avoid the public process of probate.
  • Have minor children or beneficiaries who may not be able to manage their inheritance responsibly.

Contact a California Estate Planning Attorney

A living trust can be a powerful tool for estate planning in California. To determine if a living trust is the best way to pass on your inheritance, it’s essential to consider your unique circumstances and consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in creating tailored estate plans that meet your specific needs and goals. Contact us today at 707-451-4502 to discuss whether a living trust is right for you and how we can help secure your legacy.

Modern Estate Planning Adapting to Legal and Digital Changes

The recent litigation surrounding Lisa Marie Presley’s estate underscores the critical importance of maintaining an up-to-date estate plan. Presley’s outdated estate plan led to a legal battle, highlighting how changes in family dynamics and personal circumstances can necessitate regular reviews and updates to ensure your wishes are honored and your assets are protected. A significant aspect of this dispute involved the ownership of Graceland, now owned by Lisa’s daughter, Riley Keough. Graceland remains a valuable asset worth an estimated $400-$500 million, emphasizing the need for clear and current estate planning See

Many individuals create an estate plan and assume it is a one-time task. However, numerous factors can render an estate plan obsolete. Changes in family dynamics, financial situations, and state or federal laws can all impact the effectiveness of your estate plan. See

What changes can necessitate an estate plan update?

  • Family Changes: Life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a beneficiary require adjustments to your estate plan. Failing to update your plan can lead to unintended consequences, such as assets being distributed to the wrong individuals or loved ones being overlooked.
  • Financial Changes: Significant changes in your financial situation, such as acquiring new assets, selling property, or changes in the value of your investments, necessitate a review of your estate plan to ensure it accurately reflects your current financial status and intentions.
  • Legal Changes: The legal landscape for estate planning is continually evolving. According to Family Wealth Report, recent legislative changes can significantly impact estate planning strategies, especially concerning taxes and asset protection. Staying informed about these changes and consulting with an estate planning attorney is essential to maintaining an effective estate plan.

What are digital assets and how do they impact estate planning?

What are the steps to include digital assets in your estate plan?

  • Inventory Your Digital Assets: Create a comprehensive list of your digital assets, including login information, passwords, and security questions. This inventory should cover email accounts, social media profiles, online banking, cryptocurrency, and any other digital properties.
  • Appoint a Digital Executor: Designate someone trustworthy and tech-savvy to manage your digital assets. This person should have clear instructions on how to handle each asset, whether it involves transferring ownership, closing accounts, or archiving data.
  • Document Your Wishes: Clearly outline your preferences for managing your digital assets. This can include instructions for social media profiles, online subscriptions, and digital financial accounts. Make sure these instructions are legally documented and accessible to your digital executor.

Contact a California Estate Planning Attorney

Keeping your estate plan current requires regular reviews and updates. Partnering with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure that your plan adapts to changes in your life and the law. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we offer personal advice, legal experience and ongoing support. Contact us at 707-451-4502.

Navigating Divorce and Co-Parenting in the Age of Social Media

If you follow Hollywood relationships, you may have seen headlines about Jennifer Lopez without her wedding ring. See

Perhaps you’ve seen publicity about Billy Ray Cyrus unfollowing his fiancée.

These are examples of how social media can be a powerful tool that can impact relationships with ex’s and children, especially during a divorce. This article will discuss the impact of social media on divorce proceedings, with suggestions on how you can avoid any negative repercussions of social media posting in your divorce case.

What does the scientific research tell us about the social media and divorce?

  • Pew Research conducted a study of couples and social media. See
  • Interestingly 2/3 of couples share passwords.
    • Consider changing passwords for all accounts during divorce, unless otherwise instructed by court order or your attorney.
  • 27% of internet users in marriage or committed relationships have an email account they share with a parter, and 11% us social networking sites with a shared social media profile.

What are the risks of social media during a divorce?

  • Potential evidence: assume that anything you post can be accessed and used against you, so make sure that you are not posting anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable being seen by the court.
  • Possible public disputes: Negative exchanges on social media can escalate tensions and complicate the divorce process.
  • Impact on your children: With the emotional challenges your children are likely facing as part of the divorce, consider the impact any post about the situation may have on their feelings.

What are best practice recommendations for social media during a divorce?

  • Think before your post. Be wary of posting about new relationships, lavish purchases, or any negative commentary on the court process.
  • Adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your posts.
  • Avoid posting any details or opinions about your divorce proceedings.
  • Monitor tagged content. Don’t forget that even if you are careful, content by family and friends could still impact your case.
  • Consider taking a break from social media during your divorce to avoid the pitfalls of online activity.

What are concerns to keep in mind with social media and co-parenting?

  • Avoid public discussions and especially fights with your coparent through social media.
  • Be aware that every source of communication may be a basis for a request for discovery later, so it may be easier to always communicate with your co-parent through one tool.
    • If you use messaging from multiple accounts, emails, texts, etc. then you’ll likely later have to pull up all those different messages, which can be inconvenient and time consuming.
  • Monitor your children’s online activity. Your parenting practices and habits may be an issue in your case, so you want to be assured that your child is not using social media in a way that could make you look like a parent who is not actively involved.

David Knecht Law Can Help

At David Knecht Law, we have extensive experience guiding clients through the intricacies of divorce and co-parenting, including the challenges posed by social media. Our team can help you develop strategies to protect your interests and navigate the legal landscape effectively. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, and we focus on serving clients in Solano, Napa and Yolo. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

The Importance of Living Trusts in Estate Planning: Lessons from Matthew Perry’s Estate

New details emerging about Matthew Perry’s estate have brought renewed attention to the critical role of living trusts in comprehensive estate planning. The beloved Friends actor passed away eight months ago, and a recent Newsweek article reported that one feature in his will has people “scratching their heads.” See

Why did an actor who was reportedly worth around $120 million at the time of his death, have just a little more than $1.5 million in his personal bank account?

Why are trusts a common tool for estate planning in California?

  • Wills and estate plans often work together, where you fund the trust during your lifetime, and the will would be a catch-all that transfers any remaining assets to the trust upon your death.
  • A living trust, also known as an inter vivos trust, is a legal document created during a person’s lifetime where a designated trustee holds legal title to the property for another person. Unlike a will, which only goes into effect after death, a living trust is effective immediately and can manage the distribution of assets both during the grantor’s life and after their death.

What are some of the benefits of a living trust?

  • Avoiding Probate: Probate can be time-consuming and costly, often tying up assets for months or even years. By placing assets in a living trust, you can prepare for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance without the delays and expenses associated with probate.
  • Maintaining Privacy: Unlike a will, which becomes a public document upon your death, a living trust remains private. For high-profile individuals like Matthew Perry, this privacy is crucial in protecting their estate from public scrutiny.
  • Incapacity Planning: You can designate a trustee to manage your affairs without the need for court-appointed guardianship if you become incapacitated, ensuring that your finances are handled according to your wishes without interruption.
  • Flexibility and Control: With a living trust, you maintain control over your assets and can make changes as needed. You can add or remove assets, change beneficiaries, or amend the terms of the trust as your circumstances change.
  • Efficient Estate Settlement: A living trust can expedite the distribution of assets to your beneficiaries, reducing the time your loved ones have to wait to receive their inheritance.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

The importance of estate planning cannot be overstated, and the settlement of the Matthew Perry estate is an example of how thoughtful planning and preparation can help ease the burden of your loved ones.  For Californians, working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a living trust tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of estate planning and we focus on serving clients in Solano, Napa and Yolo. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.

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: See also

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.

5 Tips for Success in Your Deposition in a California Divorce Case

If you are anticipating a deposition in your divorce, you may be a little nervous about how to do your best in answering the questions. This article is part 1 of a two-part list.

This article will suggest strategies for success in your divorce deposition with ideas that were originally published here: See also

Prepare by reviewing documents prior to the deposition.

  • Prior to your deposition, you may want to review any documents that have already been filed to jog your memory about the details of events.

Plan to tell the truth.

  • Talk with your attorney before the deposition about how to handle bad facts. Some witnesses feel tempted to lie to cover up facts that are potentially harmful to the case, but your attorney likely has a plan already on how to handle those facts.
  • An article from Family Lawyer Magazine shared some helpful insight on what the author dubbed the “lying continuum”:
    • On the one hand, neither you nor your spouse is likely to go to jail for lying in a family law case.
    • On the other hand, lying in one area reduces your credibility in the case as a whole. The other side will be looking for evidence to show your lie, and you may get caught. Furthermore, the person that is lying often has a hard time keeping the story straight for the duration of the deposition or the case as a whole.
    • See

Listen to the question.

  • Listen to the question that was asked and answer only that question. You do not have to volunteer information.
    • For example, if the attorney were to ask, “Do you have a watch?” and you answered, “Yes, it’s 10 am,” this would be an example of where you did not answer the question. The answer would be yes or no only.
  • You have many options on how to answer:
    • Yes, no, I don’t know, Can you explain the question, Can you explain this term? Etc.

Pause and think before answering.

  • Taking time to ponder your answer can be very useful during a deposition. It allows a second for your attorney to object to the question if that is appropriate. A common reaction to the stress of questioning is to try to answer quickly, but taking time to think through is usually a much better approach.

Don’t expect to win the other side over.

  • A common misconception with depositions is that this is your chance to win the other side over, so a witness may try to convince the opposing attorney of their position. This is typically a mistake. The opposing attorney’s job is to be a zealous advocate against you, so you can expect him or her to be incredulous of anything you say. Also, beware if the opposing counsel seems particularly nice, as they are not your friend and may want to trick you into talking more than you need to.

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.