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Uncontested Divorce in Illinois: Adults Only

For those married people interested in an uncontested divorce Illinois, be aware: it’s for adults only! If you and

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your spouse are able to put aside petty disagreements, and fully engage reality, an uncontested divorce may be the way to achieve your divorce in Illinois.

I’ve written several articles about uncontested divorce, and they seem popular. Many Illinois family law attorneys offer uncontested divorce services for a flat-fee, so the popularity of uncontested divorces should remain for some time to come.

Please review the below articles on uncontested divorce:

What is an uncontested divorce in Illinois?

Phases of an uncontested divorce in Illinois

Uncontested divorce: A lawyer’s role

 
Dave Wolkowitz is a Chicago, Evanston and Schaumburg divorce lawyer

Who is the Best Chicago Divorce Lawyer?

Many people want to know who is the best Chicago divorce lawyer. But the question is misguided. The Chicago divorce lawyer who is best for one person, may not be best for you. Choosing the best divorce lawyer is really about getting the best fit for yourself. In fact, I get a lot of calls from people who think they got it right the first time, only to call me later. You might consider the following ideas when trying to find the best divorce lawyer in Chicago. [click to continue…]

Divorce & Child Custody Depositions: Fundamentals

If you are presently involved in a Chicago or Illinois divorce or child custody dispute, you need to know certain basic facts about depositions.

If you are going to be deposed as part of an Illinois child custody or divorce case, you may want to consult a Chicago divorce lawyer who can appropriately counsel you and help you understand exactly what your deposition might entail. Continue reading about divorce & child custody depositions

Illinois’ Numerous Anti-Stalking Laws

Illinois has numerous laws targeted at various types of stalking behavior, such as cyber-stalking, stalking, and aggravated stalking.

If you are a victim of stalking in Illinois, you might find protection in one of the below laws, or a combination thereof. A Chicago family law attorney may be able to help you navigate the system.

Illinois Bigamy = Con artist’s trick

Bigamy isn’t totally dead – it can be just one evil trick up the con artist’s sleeve. For victim’s of bigamy, then question then becomes “How do I end a bigamous marriage?”

Section 212 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act – the Illinois law governing marriage and divorces – is entitled “Prohibited Marriage.” It prohibits “a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties” is prohibited (750 ILCS 5/212 (a)). In other words, it prohibits bigamy. –> More on Illinois Bigamy

Chicago Divorce Emergency: Quick Action Necessary

In divorce emergencies, parties may have to act quickly. This is particularly true with child custody matters.

Consider the situation encountered by one local Chicago divorce lawyer. About a month ago, he received a very distressing telephone call from a mother in child custody dispute. She was in an absolute panic. “They’re going to take away my two girls,” she said. More Chicago Divorce insight

Getting a Restraining order, AKA an Emergency Order of Protection

An Emergency Order of Protection or an emergency restraining order, means that you can go to court and receive a restraining order or an order of protection–today. To get an emergency order of protection, you must be able to convey to the court why it is an emergency. Your emergency petition (what you hand the court), should be a detailed account of the facts, incidents, and harm. It should be so complete that the judge doesn’t have to ask any questions. In order to get an emergency restraining order or emergency order of protection, there must be evidence that the person who abused you would harm you or prevent you from going to court if she knew you were getting one. Put simply, notice is not required in this emergency situation.

In an Emergency Restraining Order, or an Emergency Order of Protection, you can ask for the following:

  • Prohibit Abuse–includes physical abuse, harassment, stalking, and interference with personal liberty, intimidation of a dependent or willful deprivation
  • Grant of exclusive possession of the residence to you!
  • Stay away order
  • Physical care and possession of the minor child given to you!
  • Order the person who is abusing you to appear in court alone or with the minor child
  • Protect property–prohibit transferring, damaging or concealing property
  • Prohibit entry in residence by the person abusing you while under the influence
  • Prohibit access to records related to child
  • Other injunctive relief–such as no unlawful contact or no contact of any kind

An emergency restraining order or Emergency Order of Protection is good for up to 21 days. Because the person who abused will not be in court when you receive your emergency restraining order or Emergency Order of Protection, you must give two specific addresses where this person can be located by the Sheriff and given (served) a copy of the order and other paperwork.

 

 

Choosing a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

Illustration of headless men in suits

Choosing a Chicago divorce lawyer is a difficult task for many reason, not least of which the divorce is most likely causing anxiety and palpable havoc on your life. Nevertheless, there are a few points to consider when choose a family law, divorce, or child custody lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, or elsewhere.

  1. Ask for referrals. You can ask family and friends for referrals to divorce lawyers. However, you should make sure the referrals are actually worthwhile. For example, if you are getting a referral from a friend who had a relatively amicable divorce, and you expect yours to be very contentious or involve different issues, that friend’s referral may not be very useful. [click to continue…]

Cyberstalking in Illinois: Old game, new rules

Unfortunately, there’s nothing new about stalking in Illinois. Stalking can happen during an Illinois divorce, in a dating relationship, or between total strangers. Though before perpetrators had to spend time following victims or conducting surveillance in person, the Web now allows stalkers to terrorize from their computers.

Thankfully for Illinois cyberstalking victims are protected by Illinois anti-cyberstalking law (720 ILCS 5/12-7.5). The law is very liberal in its definitions of what constitutes cyberstalking, both in terms of the type of communication channels that can be used to cyberstalk, and what the stalker has to say or write to fall within the statutes scope.

What modes of communication are covered?

Even though the law is entitled “Cyberstalking” by the Illinois legislature, a stalker can violate the statute without using the Internet.

For instance, where the law refers to “electronic communication,” it covers use of the Internet as well as “any [other] transfer of signs, signals, writings, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system. “

The use of the term “any other transfer of signals” means that just about any electronic means of communication could fall under the prohibitions of this statute and be considered within the liberal definition of “electronic communication.” For instance, since mobile phones transmit by “radio” waves, mobile phones are covered.
So are fax machines, since they transmit by “wire.”

The point is that if a victim is being stalked in a way that includes receiving any type of electronic communication, it is quite possible that the stalker is violating the Illinois “Cyberstalking” statute.

What type of stalking is prohibited by this statute?

The stalker is in violation of this particular statute when the following occurs.

  1. Generally: Electronic communication is directed at a specific person (not a group of people), and the stalker knows or should know that as a result, reasonable person would either: (a) fear for his or her safety, or the safety of a third person, or (b) suffer emotional distress.
  2. Threats or creating fear of imminent harm: The stalker knowingly, and without legal justification, sends electronic communication is used to harass another person on at least two separate occasions, and one of the following also occurs:
    1. Threat: the stalker transmits threats of future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person, or
    2. Fear of immediate harm: the stalker places the intended victim or a victim’s family member in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint; or
    3. Solicitation: the stalker knowingly solicits the commission of a crime (as defined by the Illinois Criminal Code) an intended victim or a family member of the intended victim.
  3. Website use: A stalker can be in violation of the cyberstalking statute (720 ILCS 5/12-7.5) when the stalking knowingly and without lawful justification, creates and maintains an Internet website or webpage which is accessible to anyone else for at least 24 hours, and which contains statements harassing another person and one of the following occurs:

    1. Threats: the stalker communicates a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint, where the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person, or
    2. Fear of immediate harm: the stalker places that person or a family member of that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint, or
    3. Solicitation: the stalker knowingly solicits the commission of a crime (as defined by the Illinois Criminal Code) an intended victim or a family member of the intended victim.

Resources for Illinois Cyberstalking Victims

There are a number of resources that stalking victims can use:

  1. Police: Illinois stalking victims can call their local police and report stalking behavior. Calling the police can help protect stalking victims and can create a record of the stalker’s behavior.
  2. National hotlines: National telephone hotlines can assist people that need help. Before you contact a hotline, consider avoiding using a phone or email to which your stalker may have access (in terms of listening in to a phone line, viewing your Web browsing history, and the like).

    The National Center for Victims of Crime
    :
    Phone: 800-394-2255
    Email: gethelp@ncvc.org
    Website: www.ncvc.org

    The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
    Phone: 800-799-7233

 

False Allegations: Powering Emergency Jurisdiction Under the UCCJEA

In many states, a parent is supposed to secure and order from the court allowing the removal of a child from the state he or she has been living in. For instance, in Illinois, section 609 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) requires such. However, parents who want to remove a child often want to avoid seeking the court’s permission; after all, the court may not allow it. Some parents therefore want to remove a child without risking the court’s denial of their request.

Children Taken from their Home State: The Right Attorney is Crucial

If your child was taken from the state he or she lived in, without your permission, you are dealing with what’s known as a “removal.” In most states, a parent is supposed to seek a court order allowing a removal. However, unfortunately, this often does not happen. If your child’s other parent has

absconded with the child, without permission from you or the court, then most likely the parent who absconded with the child will want the child custody case matter to be heard in the new state. You won’t want that – you will want the case in the state where you and your child lived. The law that will most likely decided where jurisdiction will be is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”). If you are dealing with the UCCJEA, you will need an attorney who is familiar with the UCCJEA – because the stakes are high.

UCCJEA Stakes are High:

When you are dealing with a UCCJEA case where the other parent has removed a child from the state where you and the child previously lived, the stakes

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are very high. Below are just some of what is at risk.

  • You are the “away team“: If a judge in another state takes jurisdiction of the case, you will be fighting a custody case against the other parent who is operating in a venue that is friendly do them, as the local party. For instance, suppose a parent flees Chicago, Illinois to a small town in Michigan. The judge in the small town in Michigan will likely be quite friendly to the person who has fled to that jurisdiction. Keep in mind the a parent would probably flee to a certain jurisdiction because she has family there, and many judges are elected and subject to local pressure and bias.
  • Massive Expense: If you have to fight a custody case in a foreign jurisdiction, the expense will likely be immense. You will probably have an attorney in both your local jurisdiction, and the foreign jurisdiction.
  • Child Kept away from Home: During a custody case, the court is supposed to considering various factors in making its determination. One of those factors is essentially how embedded the child is into the community in which she is currently living. When a child is taken to a foreign jurisdiction, the objective of the parent who removed the child is to keep the child there. Therefore, the parent who removes the child will benefit from dragging out the process as long as possible. The longer the child is in the foreign jurisdiction prior to the court’s custody determination, the greater chance the court will allow the child to stay there after a determination.

Child Custody Nightmare: Child removed from Illinois

If you child has been wrongfully removed from Illinois, then you are in what I call a “child custody nightmare.” As an Illinois divorce lawyer, I’d say that most likely your child’s other parent is fleeing to another state to try to deprive you of the proper relationship with your child. There’s a good change you’re going to be dealing with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”). If so, you need a lawyer with considerable expertise in the UCCJEA. [click to continue…]

The UCCJEA: Overcoming Judicial Inexperience

Even though most jurisdictions divorce and child custody cases are handled by judges who only preside over those matters, most judges are surprisingly unfamiliar with the Illinois Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”). This is because most judges have very few UCCJEA cases in their entire careers.

How Experienced are Judges with the UCCJEA?

Many judges in Illinois have very little experience employing the Illinois UCCJEA. For instance, consider this random sample of four judges in Cook County, Illinois. One judge, who previously practiced in a different area of law, sat on the bench for more than a year and a half before being involved in a merely preliminary Illinois UCCJEA matter. Another judge, who had been on the bench for more than a decade, had one case in first half of 2010, and a previous case approximately in approximately 2002 – eight years earlier. Yet another judge, on the bench for almost 20 years, could not remember having a UCCJEA case – though it’s unclear whether or not she actually had a UCCJEA case. A fourth judge, who had been on the bench for about 16 years, said she last had a UCCJEA case around 2000 – though a researcher who worked for the judge during 2009 said the judge had several UCCJEA cases during that time. In sum, judges in the largest court system in the country tend not to have more than two UCCJEA cases per decade – and sometimes don’t even remember them.

Problems with Judicial Inexperience with the UCCJEA

There are several problems with judicial inexperience with the UCCJEA. most of them, not surprisingly, cause additional litigation costs. For instance:

  1. Attorneys will receive less guidance from the judge as to what she expects them to address
  2. Attorneys will spend more time talking amongst themselves regarding the proper issues to litigate
  3. Inexperienced judges are more easily persuaded by judges from other jurisdictions to make findings and rule in ways that are actually contrary to the law in their own jurisdiction
  4. Attorneys will spend more time arguing in court
  5. Attorneys will spend more time writing motions and other documents arguing your case
  6. Attorneys that either are ignorant of the UCCJEA or purposefully trying to mislead the judge will cause additional investment in education and persuading the judge

UCCJEA judicial teleconference: brief, crucial

A UCCJEA teleconference is both brief, and crucial. The UCCJEA is the law which, in 48 states (including Illinois), determines which of two states has jurisdiction over a child custody dispute.

For instance, when a father files a custody suit in Illinois and the mother files one in Michigan, the UCCJEA will determine if Illinois or Michigan has jurisdiction. Aside from the initial filing of the complaints in each state, one of the initial steps in the process of determining jurisdiction is to hold a UCCJEA judicial teleconference.

The purpose of a UCCJEA judicial teleconference is for the judges of the two states to confer and determine, as a preliminary

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matter, which state should hold the UCCJEA evidentiary hearing which will determine jurisdiction. After the judges agree on which state should hold the UCCJEA hearing, the judges in each state issue orders directing the parties to attend the hearing. The fact that a given state will hold the UCCJEA hearing does not mean that the same

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case.

For instance, an Illinois judge and a Michigan judge might agree that the UCCJEA hearing should be held in Illinois. However, at the conclusion of that hearing, the Illinois judge could find that Michigan has jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, and send the case there.

New Illinois Anti-Stalking Law: the Stalking No Contact Order Act

A new Illinois anti-stalking law, the Stalking No Contact Order Act, took effect on January 1, 2010. Previously there was a gap in Illinois law in the protection of stalking victims. To receive many types of protection, victims either had to be in a domestic relationship with the perpetrator or be a victim of the perpetrators sexual assault; orders protecting people in those situations were made possible by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act and sexual assault civil no contact order laws, respectively.

However, the new law creates a “No Contact Order” to protect those not covered under those laws. It can be useful in a domestic relations context if an ex-partner is using third-parties (such as a friend or relative) to stalk a victim.

Under the new law, those who did not have a previous relationship with the offender and those who were not a victim of sexual assault can seek a stalking no contact order (SNCO).

Under a SNCO, the court can prohibit the respondent from following:

  • Committing or threatening stalking; order the respondent to have no contact with the victim;
  • Coming within a specific distance of the victim’s home, school, workplace or other places frequented by the victim;
  • Possessing firearms or a FOID (Firearms Owner Identification) card.

Further, the court can take many other actions by issuing injunction releif that the court determines is necessary to protect the petitioner or a third party named by the court.

Attorney Fees:

While it is possible to obtain a SNCO without an attorney, those who choose to use an attorney to secure the order will be glad to know that the new law allows the court to award attorney fees to the victim if the order is granted. However, it is worth noting the following: 1) the court is not obligated to award attorney fees, and 2) if the court decides not to grant the SNCO, the person seeking the order will not be awarded attorney fees.

The definition of stalking:

The new SNCO definition of stalking mirrors the updated criminal stalking law, which criminalizes any course of conduct that causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or suffer emotional distress. Under this new law, the reasonable person is defined as a person in the victim’s situation, which requires courts to consider the victim’s knowledge of the offender and the context of the stalker’s behaviors.

Cook County, Illinois: Domestic Violence Oders of Protection Available Online

In Cook County, Illinois, the forms a victim needs to file to obtain a “domestic violence oder of protection” can be found online as part of a service called TurboCourt (find the Cook County forms here).  If you do not live in Cook County, Illinois, you will have to use a different method to obtain an oder of protection.

If you want to obtain an order of protection against someone with whom you are in a domestic relationship,  you should consider the following:

  • Filling out the Forms – Speed vs. Secrecy: Filling out an online form can be quicker and easier than going to court and filling out a form by hand. However, you should seriously consider accessing the form from a computer to which your abuser does not have access. This way, your abuser will not find out, through your browsing history or otherswise, that you plan to get an oder of protection.
  • Location of Court: When you go here to fill out your forms, you will be asked to choose a location, or the District of the court for your city. Later you will be able to find the addresses of the court you choice. If you have problems locating the address for the court you should go to in oder to file your papers, call the non-emergency  police number for your city and they will be able to tell you.
  • Submitting the Forms: You do have a valid order of protection once you fille out the forms. You must take the forms to the appropriate courthouse, go through an intake procedure where clerks ask you questions about the information you filled out, then schedule you to go before a judge that same day (so long as you did not get there too late). Information on who files a request for an order of protection, the fact that an order of protection exists, and more, is public record. 
  • Testifying: You will appear before a judge and the juge will ask you qustions, based on the forms you filled out. Essentially, you will be repeating what you put on the forms. The entire hearing before the judge will most likely take under ten minutes.

What is the Illinois Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the Illinois “UCCJEA”)

The Illinois Uniform

Jurisdiction Child Custody Enforcement Act (the “Illinois UCCJEA” or “UCCJEA”), is Illinois’ primary law for settling interstate child custody jurisdiciton disputes. For instance, the UCCJEA can come into play when an Illinois court, or the court of another state, has jurisdiction over a child custody case.

For instance, suppose Father, Mother and Daughter live in Illinois. Then, the Mother decides she wants to leave Father and take the Daughter to Michigan. The legal term for what the Mother is doing is “removal.” After Mother removes Daughter, she will probably file a child custody suit in Michigan. The Father, being in Illinios, files in Illinois because he would prefer Illinois to have jurisdiction over the case.

In such as scenario, the UCCJEA outlines rules and procedures the courts of Illinois and Michigan (or any two states) must use to determine which could should have jurisdiciton over the case.

Parties to child custody suits would normally strongly prefer that the state he or she is living in has jurisdiction over the case. There are several reasons for this, in no particular order: 1) it is a hassle to travel to another state to attend hearings, and child custody disputes can involve numerous appearances in court, 2) it can be challenging to find an attorney that lives in another states, 3) it is not unheard of for judges to favor the local party, particularly elected judges in small towns, 4) though the UCCJEA is fairly similar across states, other pertinent laws may differ.

Credibility on Steroids: Witness-to-Judge Eye Conact

Being a good witness isn’t just about using the correct (and truthful) words. It’s demeanor and body language. This is instinctively true . . . clearly no one believes a fidgety, sweaty person no matter what words they are speaking. While it is hard to control the minutia of one’s body language, there is one macro-level aspect of body language a witness can absolutely control with relative ease – and that’s who you look at when you are talking. Making eye contact with the judge is quite simply “Credibility on Steroids.”

Know this for sure: a witness should ignore the habit of looking at the lawyer asking the questions, and should look straight at the judge.

Ignore natural impulses:

In normal life, people are taught to look at those speaking to them. But court is not normal life, as anyone who has been there knows. So the normal rules don’t apply. For maximum credibility, witnesses in family court must look directly at the judge. It is almost entirely useless to look at the lawyer who is conducting the examination. A witness’s job is not to convince a lawyer of anything, its to convince the judge. Therefore, though a lawyer asks the questions, the response is to the judge.

The judge is 3 feet away, not 100!

If a witness does not look directly at the judge, there is almost know difference whether the judge is 3 feet away or a 100 feet away. However, by looking right at the judge, the witness will be creating a level of intimacy that encourages the judge to believe in the witness’s credibility.

Never, ever flinch!

When you are answering the attorney, most likely the judge will be looking down at his or her desk and writing notes – or at least pretending to. However, by looking directly at the judge when you are speaking you are taking advantage of the judge’s natural propensity to look at whomever is looking at the judge himself. So you want the judge to look back at you, that’s when a witness can have maximum impact. However, it is important that the witness never flinch when the judge finally looks up from her desk. If the judge suddenly looks at a witness, and the witness flinches and quickly turns away, that could hurt the witnesses credibility more than never looking at the judge in the first place.

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Judges are clever, and most try not to let either party know how they are feeling about a given case until they issue their decision. But sometimes a lawyer can pick up on a judgments reaction to certain statements made during a hearing or trial.

Improper Incentives: the dynamite behind many child custody battles

The problems surrounding sharing custody of children can be explained in terms of inappropriate incentives. Until all incentives for using children as weapons are removed, parties will continue to do so. Improper incentives are truly the dynamite behind child custody disputes. Removing the incentives to use children as weapons can be done in several ways. As a divorce lawyer in Illinois, I’d welcome laws that would create less animosity and nonsense in child custody cases. However, there are strong lobbies that pressure the legislature for certain laws that keep the playing field uneven. This is a short list of reforms that would be useful. [click to continue…]

What is a Deadbeat Parent?

Waht is a deadbeat parent? Most often, the deadbeats discussed are “deadbeat dads” who fail to pay child support. However, mothers can be deadbeats to. A deadbeat mom may not be depriving a child of financial support, but may be depriving the child of another necessity: a relationship with the father, or other parent.

However, it is important to not that just as there are some moms who do not pay child support, there are some dads who have primary residential custody of their children who may try to deprive their children of a relationship with the mom. Either way, depriving a child of a relationship is is far too often overlooked as a reason to label a parent a “deadbeat.”

What exactly is a deadbeat parent? Obviously, non-payment of child support is one. But there are five other factors to consider: 

  1. No Court Order? No visitation. Deadbeat parents have mastered relationship blockades – doing everything possible to prevent a father from seeing his kids. Deadbeat moms don’t let their children see the father unless a court orders them to do so.
  2. Court Order? Who Cares! A Deadbeat Parent is on a mission. And sometimes, that mission can lead her to violate a court order. Seem unlikely? No quite. In fact, some states – the sensible ones – make it a crime to interfere with visitation. Further, judges can hold a parent in contempt for no obeying court ordered visitation.
  3. False allegations and Other Perjury: False allegations deserve a PhD thesis, but for know that false allegations are a key weapon of a Deadbeat Parent. Why? First and foremost, judges are more likely to believe that women and children are victims of a father than vice versa. Deadbeat Parents know this intuitively, and it gives them the confidence to make allegations where a less sympathetic person (read: father) would not.
  4. Brain washing: Deadbeat Parents will use clever ways to break the bonds between a father and his child. This can be done numerous ways. It might be as subtle as non-verbal reactions when the father is the subject of conversation, she might outright disparage the father, or she might purposefully encourage behaviors and believes in the child that she knows are contrary to the father’s wishes.
  5. Replacement: Children are victimized enough by Deadbeat Parents, but adding salt to the wounds is the Deadbeat Parent’s efforts to replace the father in the child’s mind. I’m not talking about the Deadbeat Parent merely dating someone, that’s not replacement. Replacement occurs when the Deadbeat Parent inserts a “Fake Parent” dad into the child’s life in terms of the way the Fake Parent relates to the child. When the Fake Parent is relating to the child in way that the Real Parent would, that opens the door to replacement. And beware, replacement is occurring if the Deadbeat Parent enables contact with the Fake Parent while she is denying visitation to the Real Parent.

What’s the deal? Why would a Deadbeat Parent act in a way that so hurts her own child? It’s very simple. She hates the father’s guts. She’s greedy. She’s mentally unhealthy. Guess what? It really doesn’t matter what her motive is, it only matter’s that she is a Deadbeat Parent.

Making the Most of a Deposition of the Other Party

Depositions are of keen importance, whether you are the one being deposed, or your lawyer is deposing the opposing party. Depositions are essentially interviews lawyers can conduct of parties to a lawsuit. Only parties can be compelled to give depositions, but other people can be deposed if they agree.

Depositions in child custody and divorce cases are key. Why? Because of perjury. Perjury is hardly punished in family courts, and willing parties make full use of perjury by lying about facts and making false allegations.

Purposes:

  1. Lock-in: In child custody cases, you can use a deposition to “lock in’ an opposing parties testimony. In other words, once a party affirms or denies something during a deposition, that person will look like a liar if she says something different when testifying in court. Hopefully, your lawyer will be able to harm the other party’s credibility, and depositions can assist in that effort.s
  2. Preview:When you go to court, you don’t want any surprises in terms of what the other party will say. And, testimony given in family court can be quite “creative” in terms of its relationship to the truth. Therefore, depositions play a vital role in helping to figure out what the opposing party is going to say before it’s said it court. That way, your lawyer has time to strategize, prepare, and help fight any harmful statements the other party might make.

If you are looking for a family law attorney, he or she should give you some idea what preliminary actions he will take. If a deposition is not recommended, you might reconsider your choice of attorneys. Not deposing the other party is a major strategic blunder, as you give up the benefits noted above. If you think a deposition is not necessary because your custody or divorce will not be very bitter, I have one recommendation for you: get a lobotomy.

Do you want to go to court and be surprised when your Ex accusing you of domestic violence? Of drug use? This would be a bad situation, and you should decrease the probability it will happen by conducting a deposition.

You cannot afford the risk of wrongly assuming a deposition will be unnecessary. If it becomes necessary, and you don’t have one, or you do one much later than you could have, your case could be irreparably hurt.

Preparing:

Depositions can cost several thousand dollars. While everyone’s circumstances are different, you should try not to let this cost dissuade you. Being involved in a law suit and not seeking the most strategically beneficial position is much more costly. If you don’t want to do what is necessary to achieve your goal, you should settle, or give up.

Aside from cost, you should also make sure you and your attorney are fully prepared for a deposition because you only get one shot. If you go to a deposition and the best questions are not asked, you cannot normally schedule another.

Therefore, you may want to take the following steps in preparing for a deposition:

  1. Know what is relevant: Child custody and divorce cases involve highly persona matters. People involved may tend to think that because information is meaningful to them, it is meaningful to the case. However, that is not always true. Therefore, you should discuss with your lawyer what information is relevant. Then, you can help your lawyer address relevant facts in the deposition.
  2. Create a deposition prep sheet: This involves creating a list of the pertinent facts, and predicting the other party’s responses to your attorney’s questions.
  3. Discuss with your lawyer: You should discuss a deposition with your attorney. If you attorney is unwilling to discuss the deposition with you, then consider hiring a different attorney. You know more about the other party than the attorney, and that valuable information should be fully utilized.
  4. Updating: If you develop new information after discussing the deposition with your attorney, update the attorney on what you’ve come up with.

Nothing said in this article is written in stone. Be ready to adapt, and hire a lawyer your trust. A good lawyer will help you address the ideas listed in this article.