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Divorce and Depositions – You Can’t Get Out Of It

Depositions in divorce cases are not often pleasant. In fact, it is the discovery tool that many people dread the most. But, while it is unpleasant, it cannot be avoided.

In the case of Johhny Depp's divorce from Amber Heard, Depp has been trying to take Heard's deposition for several months, but Heard has put up several roadblocks. Johnny Depp, Amber Heard Divorce: Date Set for Heard's Deposition, by Michael Miller, July 27, 2016, First, she claimed she had a scheduling conflict that required her to be in New Jersey. Then, she claimed she had to be in England to shoot a movie. Apparently, Heard and her attorneys have been less than cooperative in scheduling. As a result of these delay tactics, Depp's attorneys has to ask for an emergency hearing to have a Judge set a deposition date. The Judge granted the request, and the deposition is now set for August 6.

While Heard was certainly successful in delaying her deposition, there was no chance she would have been successful in refusing to submit to the deposition at all. In Georgia, "[a]fter commencement of the action, any party may take the testimony of any person, including a party, by deposition upon oral examination." O.C.G.A. § 9-11-30. While the Depp-Heard divorce is in California, that state has a similar statute on the subject. Though the article does not make clear whether Heard's excuses and scheduling conflicts were valid, the Judge could not have been pleased that he/she had to make time for an emergency hearing just to schedule a deposition. Thus, it would be no surprise if attorney's fees were awarded to the party who caused the standstill in scheduling.

While a deposition can be unpleasant, especially if your soon-to-be-ex is sitting across the table listening to your answers, remember that it is not something you can get out of if the opposing party requests it. You can, however, request that your deposition take place in your attorney's office, rather than that of your ex. In addition, your attorney can try to temporarily terminate or limit the scope of the deposition if it is conducted in bad faith, or if the opposing attorney is acting "unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress." O.C.G.A. § 9-11-30(d). Since the deposition is unavoidable if requested, the best thing to do is to prepare as much as possible by thinking through answers to questions that are likely to be asked, and know that this is just one more unpleasant part of the divorce process that will soon be behind you.


Divorce Process
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