Depositions in a divorce action are infrequent but may be necessary when there are high level fact disputes regarding equitable distribution of property, business valuations, or issues of custody. A deposition is where a witness is placed under oath and is asked questions by an attorney on the case. A court reporter transcribes everything that is said. The witness must state their answers truthfully as they would in a court of law and may estimate but not guess as to facts. Exhibits may be used as well and referred to in the questioning. Multiple depositions may be taken that include business associates, tax preparers, accountants, business valuation experts, appraisers of businesses or property, parties to the case.
Depositions may last just a couple of hours or may last for a full day. Participants must be aware that the deposition will then be put into the form of a booklet and may be used at a trial to question the witness as to their testimony during the trial to recall their recollection of their testimony during the deposition.
Depositions are an expensive part of the divorce process as there are the costs of the attorneys and their preparation, the cost of the court reporter, the cost of any expert deposed, and in some cases, a videography also videotapes the depositions. These depositions may be de bene esse depositions which may be depositions taken of individuals that will not be able to appear at trial for for some reason. Often, individuals that are very sick or elderly are videotaped when their depositions are taken, in case they pass prior to trial.
In hotly contested divorce matters, where large estates are at issue that may include large or multiple business assets or multiple real properties, depositions may be necessary to determine the various facts relating to these properties prior to any trial and to determine the facts for any possible settlement prior to trial.
If you have a large estate that will require a significant amount of discovery, including depositions, please call our office in East Brunswick at 732-390-0480 or 201-242-1119 in Fort Lee for a free consultation. Night and weekend hours are available by appointment. Green & Associates concentrates in divorce law and family law. Michael S. Green is an experienced divorce attorney and family lawyer will help you with your divorce matter.