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Be Honest with Your Attorney
Perhaps you had an affair. Maybe you hadn’t had sex with your spouse in five years.
And it’s not just about sex – whatever skeletons and secrets are hanging in your marital closet, it’s a good idea to let your attorney know, so we can represent you as expertly and fluidly as possible.
We’re not gossip-mongers, and we’re not in the business of passing judgment over our clients’ behavior. Attorneys need information in order to build a case.
I won’t judge you, but it does make a difference to have the whole picture rather than just a part of it, to fully understand what my client has been through, so that I can represent him well.
Plus, for the attorney, it can be embarrassing when you’re confronted by opposing counsel or if you’re in court and something comes out in front of the judge, and you really didn’t know about it. Then it appears that your representation or your relationship with your client isn’t 100% solid.
If we don’t have all the information, we can’t help find solutions that are going to work for our clients. And if we feel like a client is holding back information, then it makes what I want to do for my client difficult to achieve.
There’s another way to think about this. When you withhold information, it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve shared and what you’re holding back. It’s like that old adage that one lie leads to another to another? Well, you’re better off being honest in the beginning, so you don’t have to be concerned about letting the wrong information slip.
Recently, a client told me some lurid details of her marriage, and I learned that my opposing counsel, representing her husband, didn’t know. Apparently, the husband had an affair, but the attorney had no idea. I knew the opposing counsel would want to have all the information. I explained this to my client and encouraged her to share everything that happened through the course of the marriage.
Whatever you’ve been through or done, it doesn’t define who you are. Your attorney isn’t going to change perspective on your character or integrity.
But they will represent you better if they have all the information. It’s up to you.