How Much to Tell Your Lawyer in a Divorce
Do you wonder how much to tell your lawyer during your divorce or family law case? Many people worry about telling their attorney too much or too little, especially when it may affect their children.
So what should you tell your lawyer?
The short answer is: everything. You should even tell your attorney the things that you think will be bad for your case. Your attorney needs to know how to address all issues. It does not do them any good to be blindsided when someone else uncovers what you wanted to keep hidden.
This means you should be honest about your finances and your tax returns. Keep your pay stubs and tax returns to make it easier to give your attorney access to accurate information. If you own your own business, keep all your corporate tax returns and keep a record of the revenue and expenses of your business. Remember, you pay your attorney to develop the best strategy for you given the facts of your case. If you hide the facts and someone else uncovers them, it may irreversibly damage your case.
You should also be honest about whether you can pass a drug test if you’re asked to take one. Telling your lawyer that you can pass a drug test does not help you when the test comes back positive. Your attorney needs to develop a strategy for how to proceed. They can only do that if you provide them with accurate information.
How do you know whether what you tell them is confidential?
People may assume that any time they speak to their attorney, they are protected by what is called attorney-client privilege. When you speak to your attorney in confidence, that conversation is privileged, which means that your attorney cannot disclose or be asked to disclose any part of that conversation.
However, many people do not realize that attorney-client privilege attaches only when the participants expect the conversation to be confidential. This means that when you involve a third party in your conversation, the conversation itself is no longer confidential, and you waive attorney-client privilege.
This means you should be careful about bringing others with you when you speak with your attorney. Involving a third party may mean your conversation is not protected by attorney-client privilege.
So should I call my lawyer every day?
It is true that your attorney needs to know all the accurate facts of your family law case. However, this doesn’t mean you should be calling them every day and sending them lots of emails at once. If you send your lawyer five short emails in one day, they have to take the time to read each one of those emails with a new update. This causes them to spend a lot of time on just reading emails rather than working on other important things in your case.
Instead, try gathering up all the information you’d like to send them and then put it all into one email or phone call at a time. This allows your attorney to spend more time and effort on putting the details together into a good strategy for your case. It also has the added benefit of ensuring that you aren’t billed for time your attorney does not need to spend on your case.
At Phelps & Moore, many of our attorneys handle family law cases regularly with positive outcomes for our clients. Call us today at (602) 788-2089 to schedule a free 30-minute initial consultation.
The information and views contained in this posting are not legal advice, nor do they form an attorney-client relationship.