The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Why You Should Tell Your Divorce Lawyer Everything
Full disclosure isn’t always in your best interest, but when it comes to discussing your divorce case with your attorney, you should always tell the complete truth. The issues of your divorce are personal, and you may feel the need to protect your privacy. If your divorce lawyer doesn’t know everything about your case, however, it could make the process even more difficult. In fact, keeping important information from your attorney will often wind up hurting your case.
Before you decide to withhold information from your divorce attorney, make sure you know how failing to disclose key information could harm your case – and your future – in the long run.
Why Does Your Attorney Need to Know?
It’s all about being prepared. You’re trusting your case in the hands of your attorney, and they are using the information you give them to establish a firm, effective strategy to give you the best possible chance of a favorable outcome. However, if your divorce attorney is kept in the dark, they could be blindsided in court or during mediation, making your existing legal strategy less effective and putting your case in jeopardy.
Everything your attorney does is based on the information you choose to share. They cannot prepare for what they don’t know.
The less your attorney knows about your situation, the less they can do to make it work in your favor. For example, if you had an affair during your marriage, but never told your attorney, they won’t know to look out for complications of an affair during your trial, mediation, or negotiations. So, if your spouse begins presenting evidence of the affair (pictures, text messages, and so on) it could undermine the legal argument your attorney had planned on using. If, however, you had told your attorney about the affair from the beginning, they could have changed the legal strategy to better support your side.
When Telling Your Attorney Feels Awkward
Sharing personal information about your marriage with your attorney may feel uncomfortable, but remember that this is their job, and they’ve likely heard it all before. Plus, if you’re feeling bashful, keep in mind that everything you share with your attorney will not be repeated because of client-attorney confidentiality. Whatever information you share will be used only for your own legal benefit, not for gossip or entertainment, so make sure you do your part to help your case.
What Type of Information Should You Share?
Before you meet with your attorney, think about what information could come back to haunt you during your divorce. Did either you or your spouse have an affair? Have you ever been financially dishonest with your spouse, or vice-versa? Was there verbal abuse? Threats? Any instances of domestic violence or child neglect? Have you posted anything publicly about your divorce on social media? While it may be uncomfortable to talk about such things, remember it is in your benefit for your lawyer to know about anything that may be relevant to your case.
If you aren’t sure what you should share and what you shouldn’t, ask your divorce attorney what they need to know. Take comfort in the fact that they have experience in similar situations and are well-equipped to protect your information. Remember, you are both working towards the same goal – securing the best possible outcome for your divorce. By doing what you can to cooperate, you can arm your attorney with the information they need to help your case succeed.Ready to get started? Contact McKinley Irvin at our Washington office to discuss your divorce case with our family law attorneys.