How to Write a Child Custody Deposition
- 1). Decide what information you want to obtain from the other parent or witnesses. In child custody cases, some common types of useful information include the other parent's income, visitation schedules, living arrangements, work responsibilities, travel plans or social activities.
- 2). Make a list of questions for the other parent, regarding the information you want to obtain. An example of a question regarding visitation: Were you with our son, John, the entire time of your scheduled visit on December 23, 2008? If you know the answer is no, be prepared with follow-up questions such as "Who was with John during the visit?" and "Where did you go during the scheduled visit?"
- 3). Write a list of answers you expect to get from the other parent. In law school, attorneys are cautioned to never ask a question to which they do not know the answer. In the previous example, if the other parent had to visit the emergency room because of someone's injury and death, this answer would not help your case. However, if the other parent went to a party instead of visiting with John during his scheduled time, this answer could help your case.
- 4). Review your list of questions and expected answers. Remove questions that are overtly personal (i.e., are you dating?) or unrelated to your final goal. Although it may be tempting to get as much information as possible about the other parent, it's important to avoid personal questions. As a rule, ask the least amount of questions necessary to get the desired information.
- 5). Contact your court clerk for the required format of deposition questions. Some courts will allow you to just type them up in a numbered list format, while others will require a motion format. The clerk may refer you to the law library or local Legal Aid office for examples, blank forms or further assistance. Click on the link below to find your local court information (Resource 1).
- 6). Submit a copy of your deposition questions to the other parent (or their attorney), according to the court's requirements. Some courts require questions ahead of time, while others will allow you to distribute copies just before the deposition.
- 7). Practice asking your questions in front of a friend or a mirror, a few days before the deposition.
- 8). Ask your questions, reading from the list, at the deposition. Allow enough time for the other parent (or witness) to answer, without rushing. Be polite and courteous.
- 9). Request a copy of the court reporter's transcript. Most court reporters can give you an estimate of how long it will take to type their notes; this can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.