Depose Your Spouse First
If you litigate, you and others will probably be deposed. A deposition is a legal proceeding in which witnesses are sworn in and lawyers for all parties can ask questions. They’re usually conducted at one of the lawyer’s offices. No judge is present, though attorneys may call the court if they have a dispute. The answers given can be used later at trial if there’s conflicting testimony, doubts about honesty or accuracy, and for other purposes.
Knowing what your spouse and witnesses for the other side have said before you answer questions yourself can help you formulate better responses. So it’s to your benefit for your lawyer to depose them in advance. You can help your lawyer achieve this objective and develop the most effective strategy by anticipating areas of questioning, and indicating any issues that may need exploration. In litigation, fast, decisive action generally gains an advantage.
It’s critical for you to identify anyone whom your spouse’s attorney may want to call for a deposition, especially people having information that can be used against you. Your attorney also needs these facts to prepare you for any depositions you may participate in.
Search your memory carefully. For example, was your home frequently disorganized and filthy when a babysitter arrived? Did the babysitter witness an argument between you and your spouse, in the presence of the children? What was said? Did you say anything to your mutual friends, or even neighbors, about your marriage or children that your spouse’s attorney could potentially use against you?
If so, say so. Your lawyer may want to depose these people immediately to control the damage they can do, and prepare rebuttal. Gathering facts and other data in advance is essential to preparing effective cross-examination questions for trial. It’s also vital to developing responses that refute negative information. Handling these preliminary steps effectively may become the lifeblood of your case.
Do not keep secrets from your lawyer. Aside from courtroom skills, your case is only as good as what you give him or her to work with.