Depositions are an important tool for discovery in many types of domestic relations cases. A deposition can allow one party’s attorney to examine and question the requested party in person on record. Under Georgia law, a deposition may be conducted anytime during the discovery period of a case. This is the time period after filing an answer, subject to any adjustment by the court.
Any party may take the testimony of any person related to the case, including that of the opposing party, by deposition. If a party wishes to take the deposition of a person through an in person examination, that party must give reasonable written notice to that person and the opposing party to the action of the deposition. This notice, must provide the details concerning the circumstances of the deposition, such as the time, date, and place of the deposition as well as the name and address of each person to be examined. The attendance of these people may be compelled by a subpoena ordering the person to attend.
At the deposition, questioning by the requesting attorney as well as the opposing attorney will take place as it would during a trial. Therefore, the witness is placed under oath before the examination is conducted and the witness’s testimony is recorded. Also like trial, attorneys may make objections during the deposition, such as to the evidence presented, the conduct of the party, or the questions being asked. At any time during the deposition, a party may petition the court in which the action is pending to terminate or limit the scope of the deposition. Georgia law states that a court will only make this type of order if the petitioning party shows that “the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in such manner as unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the deponent or party.”
After the deposition is complete, the witness may review the transcript of the recording of the deposition for accuracy and may make any necessary changes to the record. If changes are made, the witness must sign a statement reciting the revisions and provide reasons as to why the changes were made.
This record will be filed with the court and can later be used at a trial or hearing. Here, all or part of the deposition may be used against any party who was present, represented, or had noticed written notice of the deposition, as long as the rules of evidence allow for it. A deposition may be used at a trial or hearing to contradict or impeach the testimony of a witness or for any other purpose that the court will approve.
If you or someone in your case has been served with a subpoena for a deposition, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our experienced attorneys can help ease you or the witness’s concerns and hesitations concerning a deposition. We will advocate and protect your rights during a deposition for a domestic relations case.