At some point in your divorce case, you may be subpoenaed to attend and take a deposition. So what exactly is a deposition and what is it used for? The answers to these questions depend on the type of deposition that is being requested. A deposition is an oral examination of a person that occurs outside of the courtroom. In other words, at a deposition, the attorneys will ask the party being deposed a series of questions and the party will have to answer them truthfully. There are two types of depositions: (1) evidence depositions and (2) discovery depositions.
Evidence depositions are used as evidence at trial in lieu of having the person being deposed testify at trial. As a result, all of the rules of evidence apply during an evidence deposition. This means that the parties’ attorneys will ask the questions as if they are being asked at trial. Because an evidence deposition essentially replaces the person’s testimony, these depositions may only be taken in certain circumstances. According to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 212, the Court must find that (1) the person being deposed is dead or unable to attend trial to testify because of age or serious illness at the time of trial, (2) out of the county at the time of trial, or (3) the party offering the evidence deposition has exercised reasonable diligence in trying to have the person being deposed attend trial, but has been unable to procure the attendance of the person being deposed at trial or exceptional circumstances exist to allow the deposition to be used at trial.
Discovery depositions are much more common in domestic relations cases. These depositions are not used in lieu of trial testimony, but rather, are merely used as a discovery device to find out information about the other party. Therefore, the attorneys will ask the party a series of questions about the issues in the case and any surrounding facts. A discovery deposition may be used for a few different reasons. First, the discovery deposition can be used to impeach the party being deposed at trial if that party states something that is inconsistent with what was said at the deposition. Second, anything said at the discovery depositions can be used against the party being deposed as an admission of that fact. Finally, Therefore, it is important to be concise in answering these questions and not to guess, because this information can be used against the party later.