Published on September 28th, 2023 | by Rebecca D. Walker0
Ask a Divorce Lawyer: How Should a Client Prepare for a Deposition or Trial?
If you’re in a divorce proceeding in Sugar Land, preparing for a deposition or trial might be a step you’ll need to take. A lot of personal emotions and legal complexities are involved in any divorce, so having a divorce lawyer in Sugar Land prepare you for the experience will help you get the best outcome.
Why Sworn Testimony Is Important
A deposition is a sworn testimony taken outside the courtroom, where you’ll answer questions posed by the opposing counsel. While it’s not as formal as a trial, the information gathered can be used in court, so prepare for this with the utmost seriousness.
Your statements during a deposition are under oath, so honesty is paramount. Offering false testimony can not only jeopardize your case but may also have legal consequences. Avoid speculating or guessing at answers. If you’re uncertain about a question, it’s acceptable to say you don’t recall.
Here’s some of what your lawyer will help you do to prepare:
Gathering and Reviewing Documents
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Before a deposition or trial, you will often be requested to provide certain documents. These can range from financial records and property deeds to personal correspondence. Ensure all requested documents are organized and easily accessible. Please familiarize yourself with their contents, as you may be questioned about them.
While it’s natural to feel anxious or emotional, you must maintain a calm demeanor, especially during a deposition or trial. Emotional outbursts or aggressive behavior can reflect poorly on you and can be used against you by the opposing counsel.
Remember, you’re not there to convince the opposing attorney, who can’t ever be “on your side” even if they believe you. You’re only there to provide clear, accurate, and truthful information. When faced with provocative questions, take a moment to breathe and answer calmly. If a question feels inappropriate or confusing, your attorney is there to object or ask for clarification.
Anticipating Key Issues
In divorce cases, specific issues take precedence. These may include child custody, property division, alimony, and child support. Prepare yourself mentally for questions around these topics. Your attorney will help you anticipate the questions that may be posed and guide you on how best to respond.
Coaching You On Appearance
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Appearances matter. When attending a deposition or trial, dress professionally. This shows respect for the court and can influence your perception of yourself as a severe and responsible individual. You don’t need to overdo it; you need to show that you respect the court and take this seriously. Ensure you look neat, tidy, and appropriate for a formal setting.
What Else Can You Do To Make the Process Go Smoothly?
While it’s essential to prepare for your actual deposition experience or being in a courtroom, there are things you can do tangentially to help things go more smoothly.
Protect Your Personal and Digital Privacy
Personal communications can become a point of contention in today’s digital age. Ensure you maintain digital privacy and are prudent about what you share on social media, texts, or emails. Anything shared can be used as evidence. Also, refrain from discussing the details of your case with anyone apart from your attorney.
Learn About Texas-Specific Rules
Divorce laws vary by state, and Texas has its own set of regulations. For instance, Texas is a community property state, which means all assets acquired during marriage are typically considered joint property. Your lawyer will be able to tell you all about these specifics, and listening will help you set realistic expectations for your trial’s outcome. Find out more here.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
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Divorce can be emotionally taxing, and preparing for a deposition or trial can add to this stress. Ensure you take steps to manage your emotional well-being. This might include seeking counseling, practicing relaxation techniques, or engaging in physical activity. While this advice may not seem directly related to your deposition or trial, a sound mind will aid clearer thinking and better decision-making.
Stay Informed and Ask Questions
Knowledge is empowering. Stay informed about every stage of the process, and if you have doubts or concerns, raise them with your attorney. Being proactive and seeking clarification will help ease any uncertainties. Remember, no question is too trivial if it helps you better understand and navigate your divorce proceedings.
Don’t Work With Just Any Divorce Lawyer in Sugar Land
Some attorneys operate like “divorce mills,” whose goal is to get you in and out as fast as possible, regardless of the outcome. Great attorneys have the experience and skill to help you prepare and get a good result. Be sure to work only with a qualified lawyer with lots of Texas divorce experience.
While the emotional weight of divorce can be challenging, an attorney guides and supports you every step of the way. Listen to their advice, and you can know the best outcome.
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