It can be difficult to know when to tell the whole truth and when some things should be left unsaid, but there are some situations in which full disclosure is in your best interest. While the matters in your divorce are highly personal and you will naturally want to protect your privacy, your divorce lawyer will need to have all the details. When you have a divorce attorney who does not know all of the ins and outs of your case, it can make the entire process harder than it should be. Withholding information about your divorce from your attorney can hurt your case in the end.
Before you opt to keep some information about your marriage and case from your attorney, learn why not fully disclosing what you know can damage your case — and your post-divorce future — over the long run.
Why Your Attorney Needs the Details
It all comes down to full preparation in your case. You are placing your divorce into the capable hands of your family law lawyer, and they will use all of the information that you give them to craft a solid and effective strategy to position you for the best chance at the outcome you are hoping for in your case. If you are keeping your attorney in the dark about certain things, they can end up being caught completely off guard in mediation or in court, and this will dent your existing legal strategy and could even harm your entire case.
Keep in mind that all your attorney does is largely based on the information you provide, and your attorney simply can’t be prepared for something they don’t know anything about.
When your attorney doesn’t know everything, they have less of a chance at making things work in your favor. If, for example, you cheated on your spouse but were too embarrassed or uncomfortable to tell your attorney about it, they won’t know to watch out for the complications that infidelity can bring in your trial, during negotiations or at mediation. If your spouse’s attorney begins to show evidence of the affair, it could end up taking the wind out of whatever legal argument your attorney had decided to use before. On the other hand,iIf you had told your attorney about the affair from the start, they could have gone with another legal strategy that would have worked better in this type of situation.
There Is No Need to Feel Awkward
Of course, sharing highly personal details about your marriage with an attorney may feel a bit weird at first, but keep in mind that this is their job, and it’s unlikely you are going to tell your attorney anything new–they’ve heard it all before. Anything you share with your attorney will not be repeated anywhere else, either. Attorneys are bound by client-attorney confidentiality, which means they are legally bound to keep your information private.
If you are not sure exactly what to share, consider what could possibly come back to haunt you during your divorce case, big or small. Were you ever financially dishonest with your spouse, did you cheat on them, or were you abusive? Does any of that apply to your spouse instead? Did you post anything publicly about the divorce on social media that could harm your case? While it may feel awkward to talk about things like this, keep in mind that your attorney needs to know about everything and anything that could be relevant to your case to represent you effectively and to the best of their ability.
You and your attorney are both going to be working on the same goal–getting the best outcome possible for your divorce case. When you do whatever you can to cooperate, you will be able to prep your attorney with the information needed to create and execute the best strategy for your case.