A deposition is a discovery tool by which your attorney can obtain sworn testimony from a witness outside of the courtroom and the presence of the Judge. A deposition usually takes place in the office of one of the attorneys, although it may take place at another mutually agreeable neutral location. Either party may be required to appear and testify at a deposition. Other persons not a party to the case such as physicians, custodial evaluators, psychologists, business valuators, accountants, family members, and friends, may also be subpoenaed and required to appear and give deposition testimony.
Those present at the deposition normally include the parties (who have a right to attend all depositions), the parties’ attorneys, and the person being deposed. A court reporter is also present to administer an oath and make a written transcript. If a non-party is the person being deposed, they may also have their attorney present.
Most depositions have two purposes. One purpose is to learn what knowledge a party or non-party witness possesses about your case and to explore anticipated testimony in advance of a hearing or trial. Another purpose of conducting a deposition is to preserve a witness’ testimony so that it can be used later to attack the witness’ credibility at trial if they are not truthful.
Even if you do not anticipate that your case will go to trial, depositions can be a valuable tool for obtaining information that could help to facilitate settlement negotiations or enhance your bargaining position.