Key Questions Asked in Divorce Depositions
Divorce litigation can be tricky and contentious. Depositions of the parties involved in a divorce can be critical in reaching a favorable settlement or court decision concerning matters of property division, child support, alimony, and child custody. Below we identify a few of the critical areas for questioning we have observed in successful divorce proceedings. Contact our talented and professional Phoenix court reporters for deposition services throughout the state of Arizona.
Demonstrating finances is of the utmost importance for most issues that arise during a divorce. Attorneys should be prepared to ask after the parties’ income, both amount and sources, location of all obvious and non-obvious assets, health insurance policies, retirement benefits, real estate, expected earnings and future job prospects, expected retirement date, and health issues that may contribute to any of the above. It is important to make sure that no stone goes unturned. Parties do not want to find out that a whole cache of assets was hidden by one party or that they had an undisclosed source of income that would have factored into alimony, child support, or property division calculations. Additionally, if one party has been deliberately wasteful of assets or has used marital assets to fund an affair, it is likely relevant to the case.
Child Care and Relationships
If child custody is an issue in the divorce, it is essential to establish each party’s relationship with the children as well as their capacity for childrearing. Attorneys may ask about the parent’s living situation, regular contact with the children, what sort of child care the parent expects to utilize while they are at work, and what they desire in terms of custody and visitation. They might also ask after the health and life of the child, including the child’s friends, interests, doctors, schools and needs, in order to establish the relationship between the child and parent.
When it comes to divorce, anything may be fair game. If a party has a propensity towards heavy alcohol and drug use, then those facts should be elucidated for the purposes of evaluating custody and visitation rights. If they bring criminal elements into their home, then the home might not be safe for children. Anything that could impact the care and safety of the children or that might impact their financial situation should be discussed.
Events Related to the Divorce
Arizona, like most states, allows divorces to be resolved without establishing fault. There is no need to establish adultery, abandonment, or other incidents of wrongdoing to secure the divorce. However, the circumstances that led to the divorce can still be relevant for certain purposes. Incidents of infidelity may be relevant to cohabitation for the sake of alimony and child support, child custody, or in determining the fair apportionment of certain assets. Past incidents of spousal or child abuse are critical in determining custody and visitation arrangements. Anything that might be relevant should come into the deposition so that it can be used in motion practice, arguments, and at trial should it become necessary.
If you need high-quality and detail-oriented court reporting services in Arizona, contact the Phoenix offices of Ottmar & Associates at 602-485-1488.