Although divorce occurs at a rate of 50% in America, the divorce process is commonly one that individuals will only experience once in their life. The unfamiliarity produces a number of questions from clients and what is needed from them. It is common for individuals to question what information, and how much of it, is necessary to disclose to their attorney during their proceedings. Discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney and they will be able to provide you with the details necessary for effective representation, and the bounds of confidentiality regarding your attorney client relationship.
In every divorce case, there is specific information and certain documents that are required by statute to be provided and exchanged between the parties. These required documents are encompassed by the term Mandatory Disclosure. These documents are essential to a divorce case and failure to provide these necessary items can result in legal penalties. The focus of many of these documents include the financial status of the parties, which become the basis of many decisions regarding equitable distribution, alimony, and child support. These financial documents, including tax returns, paystubs, credit card statements, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, lists of assets and liabilities, and monthly expenses, will first be provided to your attorney for review. They will ensure the documents fulfill the statutory requirements and make note of the specific details that develop an accurate picture of your financial status as an individual and couple.
Outside of the mandatory documents, it is important to provide your lawyer with all relevant information pertaining to your divorce. The court is provided a great deal of latitude when determining issues such as equitable distribution, child custody, and alimony, therefore even small details of your marriage, children, or career can become relevant issues or claims in your divorce. Therefore, it may be important to share the history of your relationship, including how you met, when you were married, when you separated, if the decision to divorce is mutual, if you have any children, the roles of each spouse within the marriage, and the assets and liabilities. Some information, although personal in nature may also be helpful in your case. Sensitive issues such as extramarital affairs had by you or your spouse, history of domestic violence, or criminal records, are relevant to your divorce action, especially if children are involved. These facts are important to share as they can be brought into evidence by the opposing party and your attorney will need to be prepared to defend or argue why these items should or should not have an effect on the determination of certain aspects of your divorce. Hiding details from your attorney will only lead to impairing your attorney’s representation during this process.
Although these financial and personal details can be extremely private to an individual, it is important to know that the discussions you have with your attorney are confidential. When seeking legal counsel, the conversations had between an attorney and client are privileged and neither party can be compelled to reveal the information discussed unless you, the client, allow for such revelation. There are certain exceptions to this rule, including the perpetuation of a criminal act. However, in most cases the personal information and conversations shared between you and your attorney are private, meaning those intimate details shared can only be revealed to a third party or the court upon your consent.
The amount of information necessary to effectively conclude a divorce action may seem overwhelming and invasive. However, it is important to understand how each piece of evidence relates to your divorce action and how certain items discussed between you and your attorney are privileged. Ensure you are properly informed and protected with regard to the substantial information provided by employing an experienced divorce lawyer.
Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.