Virginia Divorce Law: The Value of a Deposition

One of the most important stages of a contested divorce is known as “discovery.” This is the stage where you get as much information from your spouse as possible so you can be fully prepared for trial. There are many types of discovery, but this post is dedicated to explaining depositions, and how they can be used in your case.

So what are the types of depositions, and how can they help you?

What Is A Deposition?

A deposition is essentially a meeting or a process where your lawyer gets to ask a series of questions to one of three categories of people; 1) the opposing party, 2) expert witnesses and 3) fact witnesses. An expert witness would be someone like a career counselor who would testify that someone is underemployed. A fact witness is someone who may have proof that your spouse is committing adultery. During a deposition, your lawyer will sit down with these people and ask them questions for several hours.

How Many Types of Depositions Are There?

There are several different types of depositions. These types include 1) a deposition by written questions, 2) a video deposition, and 3) an oral deposition with a court reporter. A deposition by written question is simply a deposition where your lawyer sends questions in writing for a written response. This type of deposition can save valuable time and money. A video deposition is simply a deposition meeting that is recorded on video. An oral deposition is a deposition meeting where you have a court reporter taking notes.

How Can A Deposition Be Used?

Depositions can be used several different ways. If the person you have deposed becomes unavailable for trial due to some unforeseeable reason, then you may be able to introduce the deposition at trial. This is beneficial if a fact witness dies unexpectedly or goes into the hospital. A deposition can also be used to “impeach” a witness. For example, if a witness says one thing during a deposition but then changes their story at trial then the judge may be less willing to believe them during the divorce trial.

Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer.

Depositions can be terribly complicated to schedule and conduct. They typically last for several hours, and it takes an experienced attorney to know how to effectively utilize a deposition. While depositions can be time consuming and expensive, they are a valuable tool for catching people in a lie during trial.