What Is a Deposition?

Hi. We've been talking about discovery tools in divorce cases and our final topic is something called a deposition. A deposition is essentially a situation that is very similar to putting somebody on a stand and getting to cross-examine them and ask them a bunch of questions, only it's done in a much less formal setting.

Depositions typically take place at one of the attorney’s offices and what happens is the attorney who is calling for the deposition will hire a court reporter to come in. The court reporter is somebody with stenography equipment. There it is possible to do what we called video depositions where somebody comes and sets up a camera et cetera. Although you typically see those when you're dealing with experts who you're not gonna have coming in and testify a trial necessarily. But for an ordinary deposition we're gonna have a court reporter and what’s gonna happen is a court reporter will swear in the witness who's being deposed and then the parties have an opportunity to ask questions to get information.

These can be particularly useful if you have a situation where you want to lock a party in to their responses to certain things. One of the things that attorneys will do when they get through with the deposition is they'll get a transcript of this from the court reporter and then they'll go through-- and they'll take note of all the answers that were given in there.

And then of course, when it comes to trial and they go-- and they're asking the individual the same questions on the stand, if their answers now differ from the answers that were provided in the deposition, the attorney at that point can use those things to challenge what the witness is saying at this point and even discredit them by saying, "Hey look, you're saying this now but before you were under oath and you said this, didn't you?."

So that's how depositions can be used in divorce cases and again, it is a very important tool. It is much more expensive to do than some of the other techniques which is why you see those other ones a little more frequently than we see depositions. But depositions are still very, very important to the discovery process. So that concludes this series on discovery and some of the tools that attorneys use throughout the discovery process and hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what your attorney is talking about when you hear the term discovery. If you have any questions about discovery or anything else related to your case, give me a call at the number below. I'm Dave Ward from the Ward Law firm and we protect business owners facing divorce.