Going through a divorce often raises issues that seem private and may be embarrassing or make you feel uncomfortable. However, holding back on these issues often prevents your lawyer from being able to do the best job on your case.
Clients are often embarrassed about the amount of debt they have or their poor planning for retirement. I am not here to judge you about money management. I know that kids, mortgages and cars are expensive, and that sometimes life throws more your way at one time than you can afford. I have represented clients of all income levels; however, I cannot fight for what you need financially out of a divorce, unless I have an understanding of debt, assets and your cash flow each month.
Relevant Details of Your Sex Life
I have seen cases where husbands have been incredibly cruel and demeaning to their wives during sex, and I have a much better understanding of who I am dealing with on the other side when my clients confide in me about this. If you have had an affair or are seeing someone new, I need to know. If there are homemade videos or pictures of you that are sexual in nature, then I need to know so I can prevent your spouse from sharing those images with others. These are all issues I’ve had come up before and I will not think less of any client who tells me these things.
If you have a mental health diagnosis, or if you have received treatment for mental health and/or addiction issues, I need to know. Chances are your spouse already knows and may use it against you in court. I have visited clients in psychiatric wards and spoken with other clients as they go through withdrawal. Rather than judging you for these issues, I will be impressed if you have gotten the help you needed and overcome these obstacles in life.
Anything Else You’re Afraid to Say, but Could Help the Case
Questions such as these are often hard to admit to but can be an important part of your case:
- Have you ever had problems with drugs or alcohol?
- Did child protective services ever receive a complaint regarding you?
- Do you have any criminal convictions?
- Did you lose your temper once resulting in an incident with the school, work or with your spouse?
These are just some examples of things that I, as your lawyer, may need to know before walking into the courtroom with you. If you’re wondering if you should tell me, go ahead and speak up.
Remember, what you tell me, as your lawyer, is confidential, and while I cannot lie or let you lie on the stand, I will not share these details with opposing counsel or a judge without your permission. I am not here to judge you and I’m sure I’ve heard worse. Instead, I need to know the areas in your case where you need protection, and I need to be prepared if the other side raises any of these issues. You need to be as comfortable opening up to your lawyer, as you would with your doctor or therapist. Don’t feel comfortable discussing these issues with your lawyer? Probably time to find a new one then.