What to Expect at Your Illinois Divorce Deposition

If you or your spouse filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the state of Illinois, it is likely that your attorney has requested discovery, or information, from your soon-to-be former spouse, and your spouse’s attorney has requested discovery from you.  That discovery may include Interrogatories which is a list of questions that your spouse must answer under oath or a Notice to Produce which directs your spouse to provide copies of requested documents including tax returns, credit card statements and other documents that apply to your case.

 

Another form of discovery is known as a deposition.  A deposition is a list of questions given by an attorney that are answered by the spouse in a divorce case under oath and in the presence of a court reporter.  There are rules under Illinois law regarding the scheduling and taking of a deposition[1] including one that restricts the time limit for a deposition unless extended by court order.

 

My Spouse’s Attorney Is Requesting My Deposition – What Happens Next?

If you have received a Notice of Deposition from the other side, the first thing you must do is schedule an appointment with your Crystal Lake divorce attorney.  Your lawyer cannot tell you how to answer the questions at your deposition, but he can review an outline of the types of questions that you will be asked so that you feel more comfortable about the process.  Although your attorney can provide a detailed listing of the types of questions you can expect, there are some questions that are asked at many depositions including:

 

  • Identification: At the outset of your deposition, you will likely be asked questions concerning your name, address, date of birth and other identifying information.
  • Education/Employment: Depending upon your educational and/or employment background, you will be asked questions regarding the highest level of school that you completed, any specialized training that you received, and your employment history as well as questions regarding your current employment, salary, and employee benefits.  If either you or your spouse is requesting maintenance, there may be additional questions concerning your Financial Disclosure Statement and monthly expenses as well as any other detail that applies to your situation.
  • Property: If you own any property individually or jointly with any other person including your spouse, you will be asked about the title of the property, how and when it was acquired, the existence of any mortgages or liens, as well as the current value of each property.
  • Assets: Depending upon the nature of your marital estate, you may be asked questions regarding bank accounts, retirement accounts, personal property, automobiles, and other assets owned by yourself or your spouse.
  • Non-marital Property: Under Illinois law, there is a type of property known as non-marital property[2] which includes property acquired by gift, legacy or descent and property excluded by a valid premarital or postnuptial agreement.  If either you or your spouse owns non-martial property, you may be asked questions regarding each item.
  • Debts: You will likely be asked a series of questions regarding any debts that were incurred jointly with your spouse or individually.  In many divorce depositions, many questions are asked regarding individual charge card accounts or purchases and cash advances on credit cards.  Before the date of your deposition, you may want to review any such transactions on your credit card statements with your attorney.
  • Parenting: If you have not reached an agreement regarding parenting responsibilities prior to the date of your deposition, it is likely that many of the questions will concern this topic.  You may be asked questions regarding the current parenting schedule for the children and the proposed schedule going forward.  You may also be asked regarding decision making responsibilities to be allocated to each parent as well as other child related issues including extracurricular activities, religion, and education.

What Happens the Day of My Deposition According to a Crystal Lake Divorce Attorney

Depositions in divorce cases are usually conducted in the office of your attorney or the attorney representing your spouse.  Typically, both spouses and their respective attorneys are present as well as a court reporter.  At the beginning of the process, the court reporter will swear you in and confirm that all of your answers are given under oath.  Your spouse’s attorney will then ask you questions concerning your case.  If the question is not allowed or there is an objection, your attorney will state that on the record before you begin to answer.

 

Be sure to listen to each question carefully.  If you do not understand what is being asked, politely request that the question be repeated or rephrased.  One of the most important things that you can do during your deposition is to provide honest and succinct answers the questions being asked.  Sometimes people become nervous and begin to speak about all different topics rather than simply answering the question that was asked.

 

Contact a Crystal Lake Divorce Attorney

The topics and questions that will be discussed at your deposition are specific to the facts of your case. Only an experienced divorce attorney can review your case and assist you to prepare for your deposition. To speak with a Crystal Lake divorce attorney from the Stetler Law Group call (815) 529-4554.

 

References

 

[1] http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=073500050K2-1003

 

[2] http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm