You may be divorcing your spouse for infidelity. But what if you yourself had a little dalliance outside of the marriage years ago? You wouldn’t want one bad decision to tank your chances for the kind of divorce settlement you feel you deserve. And is your behavior even relevant? Does your divorce attorney really need to know everything from the entirety of the marriage? Turns out, what you reveal to your Michigan divorce attorney can be the difference between getting the settlement you want and settling for less.
Respect the Attorney-Client Privilege
Your attorney is your attorney and not your ex’s. There is an attorney-client privilege that automatically classifies every conversation you have with your attorney as confidential. The attorney-client privilege is in place for one very important reason: So that you are comfortable speaking openly with your divorce attorney and sharing information that will help them provide the most effective representation for you.
Attorneys are not permitted to divulge their clients’ secrets and they cannot be forced to give up any information, even after the divorce is over, even after a client’s death. You should feel safe with your divorce attorney and trust him enough to share every detail from your marriage, good and bad.
Even in a situation where you interview a number of divorce attorneys before hiring one, and you tell them all the same details in that first meeting, these preliminary communications are also subject to the attorney-client privilege no matter who you hire. These conversations also bar your ex from hiring this attorney either, which some individuals use as a weapon in their divorce case, filing first for divorce and then consulting with as many divorce attorneys as possible to make their ex’s hunt for representation that much more difficult.
Be as Forthcoming as Possible with Your Divorce Attorney
In your meetings and interactions with your divorce attorney, you will likely hear the following question uttered more than once: “Is there anything else I need to know?” If there is a secret you’re keeping in your pocket, these are the moments when it’s time to share. You cannot begin to fathom what your ex will tell their divorce attorney, or what evidence they may present against you. If your attorney knows all the unsavory details about your marriage, he or she will have the ability to put together an effective and strategic plan, no matter what you have or haven’t done. A divorce attorney’s worst nightmare is being blindsided at mediation or in a courtroom because they have not thoroughly vetted their client enough, or because their client was not straightforward with them.
Sure, it can be embarrassing to fess up to certain problems within your marriage (from financial infidelity to social media addiction), behaviors you’re not proud of, or crimes you’ve committed. But you can be sure, especially if you have a contentious divorce, that the issues will come up at some point or another. Your divorce attorney has seen and heard it all – don’t be ashamed to share your marital unrest or personal indiscretions because you’re mortified by your own actions or feel they have no bearing on the case at hand. What facts are relevant is a decision for your attorney to make in your best interest.