Depositions questions about spouse’s cohabitation with paramour

In a divorce case, opposing family law lawyers frequently take the other spouse’s deposition.

Below are typical questions that one spouse’s divorce lawyer will ask the other spouse about his or her cohabitation with a paramour.  The prevailing psychological wisdom (if it can be called that) holds that introducing paramours, or new “friends” to children, particularly young children, can be very confusing and upsetting to the children.  It is generally frowned upon.

  • What is your current address?
  • Who lives there with you?
  • How long has he or she lived there?
  • What arrangements has this person made for payment of expenses?
  • Is he/she contributing, if so how much, if not why not?
  • Is there a written lease?
  • Does he/she have a sexual relationship with you?  Do you occupy the same bed-bedroom? (In some states, conjugal cohabitation can terminate a spouse’s rights to spousal support/alimony.  In others, this line of inquiry would not be relevant).
  • Have the children met this individual?
  • If so, when and under what circumstances?
  • Have the children ever expressed any dissatisfaction with the live-in arrangement?
  • Does this individual have children?
  • Has he/she met your children?
  • How do they get along?
  • Have your children ever expressed any dissatisfaction with the live-in kids?
  • Do the children share same bed/bedroom when _____’s children are there?
  • Do you have any plans to marry this individual?
  • Are the children aware of these plans?
  • When, in your opinion, did the marriage commence its irretrievable breakdown?
  • When, in your opinion, was the marriage irretrievably broken down?

In states where the concept of dissipation of the marital estate exists, the preceding two questions help establish a basis for making that claim. Dissipation generally is defined as the selfish use of marital assets at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown. If the court finds that one spouse dissipated marital assets, the dissipating spouse will be awarded the sums dissipated, thereby increasing the non-dissipating spouse’s share of the remaining marital estate.