Tell the Whole Truth and Provide Requested Information Promptly During Your Divorce

If your lawyer asks you for information, he or she will be stalled until you provide it. Because your lawyer won’t ask for information unless he or she needs it, treat any request for information as an urgent matter.

Moreover, tell your attorney the truth and give a complete picture, not an accurate but incomplete one. Don’t try to make yourself look better than you are. Your lawyer needs to know the whole truth about you, warts and all. Why? Because it is your lawyer’s job to make you look good, and he or she can’t do that without knowing about your flaws, shortcomings, and skeletons in the closet.

Suppose you are HIV-positive and have been convicted (even though many years ago) of child molestation. You fear that you will lose custody of your son if this information becomes known. But if you conceal the information from your attorney, he or she can’t develop a plan for dealing with it. Armed with the facts, he or she may decide to retain an expert to testify that your HIV-positive status poses no threat to your child. An expert could also educate the judge regarding your present mental status and whether you are currently at risk for being abusive to your child. Your lawyer might also try to get your case before a judge who tends to ignore child abuse or one who is known not to discriminate on the basis of HIV.

The sooner your lawyer knows of the weaknesses in your case, the sooner he can get started developing a plan to overcome them. If the other side has the information and springs it on your lawyer at trial, your lawyer will appear incompetent to the judge. Remember, your spouse knows a lot about your past and will be feeding all sorts of negative information about you to his or her own lawyer. Don’t risk your lawyer’s credibility (or your own) by withholding potentially damaging information. Better to get everything out in the open so the damage can be controlled.

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