Depositions in Bloomington Illinois Divorces

If you are going through a Divorce or Child Custody Case in Bloomington Illinois, it maybe helpful for you know certain basic facts about depositions.


You may be deposed as part of your Illinois Child Custody or Divorce Case, so you should consult an Illinois Divorce Lawyer who can appropriately counsel you and help you understand exactly what your deposition might entail.


Definition of Deposition: 

In a deposition, a lawyer asks questions of one of the parties or witnesses. This person being asked the questions is called the Deponent. A person may agree to be deposed. However, it is common that a subpoena is issued. One of the attorneys in your case will issue a subpoena which directs you to appear at the deposition.


The purpose of a Divorce/Child Custody Deposition: 

There may be numerous objectives to conducting a deposition.


  • Lock in testimony : In McLean County and Illinois Divorce and Child Custody Cases, it is very common for one party to make false allegations of abuse. Sometimes it suprises people when their recent best friend(s) and family member(s) start to lie in Court and Court documents. Therefore, if a party is deposed early on in a case, and claims there was no abuse, any later claims will not have much credibility. By deposing the other party or witness, the party deposing the deponent can gain some insurance against the deponent changing his or her story. Also, a deposition can be taken to preserve testimony; for instance, if a deponent might become unavailable for live, in-court testimony (because he is a soldier being shipped to Afghanistan or because she is dying of a terminal disease), an “evidence deposition” can be taken and used like live testimony in court.


  • Preventing surprise: If your Illinois divorce or child custody case goes to trial, your Bloomington divorce lawyer will not want to be surprised about what a witness says on the stand. A deposition helps your divorce attorney prepare for trial. For instance, when your divorce lawyer is cross examining a witness in a child custody or divorce case, he or she should strive to live by the motto “Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer.” Bottom line: Depositions help prevent testimony surprises at trial.


  • Discovery: A deposition can be a discovery tool. By deposing the other party in a McLean County divorce or child custody case, parties can uncover other evidence. For instance, if in a deposition a wife accidentally admits she bought her extra-marital lover a gold nugget ring, the husband can investigate that purchase in an effort to show the wife dissipated marital assets.


How much does a Bloomington divorce or child custody deposition cost? You will have to pay for your lawyer’s time, and for a court reporter to record to deposition and to transcribe it. A court  reporter will cost several hundred dollars. Your lawyer will likely be charging you upwards of $200 per hour. The actually deposition might take several hours. However, your lawyer will need to prepare for the deposition for several hours. Long story short, a deposition will end up costing more than one thousand dollars, and most likely, will cost several thousand. While depositions can seem costly, it may be much more costly to your case not to depos the other party or a witness.



What should I do if I’m going to be deposed?: You  may receive a subpoena directing you to appear at a deposition. Consider the following:


  • Your will be recorded at the deposition: You may be sitting across from your former lover, feeling a level of hatred you’re rarely experienced.   You may think that person is ruining your life! It’s unfair! You want to give them a piece of your mind, and tell him or her they aren’t worth the grime on the bottom of your shoe! Don’t! You do not want to say anything you would not want a judge to hear.


  • The opposing attorney will try to size you up: The other attorney will try to figure out how a person will react on the stand. You should consult with your attorney about how to proceed with your deposition, given this purpose of the opposing attorney.


  • Prepare. Prepare. Prepare:  Your divorce lawyer should prepare you by explaining what types of questions the opposing attorney might ask. But, you attorney cannot tell you what to say . . . there is a difference.



How does a deposition happen? A person may willingly be deposed, but most often a person will be subpoenaed, and thereby ordered, to attend a deposition. An attorney may subpoena a witness (including the other party), but a subpoena can be quashed (nullified). If a party is pro se (representing him or herself), then that party could ask a judge for a subpoena.  However, if the pro se party is not an attorney, it is highly unlikely the deposition will be as productive as it should be.

Who may be deposed? Parties and witnesses may be deposed. However, a deponent’s attorney may be able to quash a subpoena to be deposed – meaning at attorney could stop his or her client from being deposed. Doing such would requiring the filing of a motion to quash.


What type of questions may be asked at a deposition? Any quesitons may be asked at a deposition. Though the deponent’s attorney may object to various question, the deponent must still answer. The judge will later decide if the objection should be sustained and the deponent’s answer stricken from the record. If a deponent refuses to answer a question, then the deposing attorney may ask the judge to order the deponent to answer the question. If the judge so orders, and the deponent still refuses,  the deponent may be held in contempt of court.