In essence, you should tell your divorce lawyer everything. Some details may be more embarrassing to admit, but it’s best to have your divorce attorney fully aware of your situation so they can arrange a solution that still works in your best interest.
Spouses intentionally hold back embarrassing details when they discuss a case with a divorce lawyer. Despite purposely refraining from disclosing everything to an attorney, withheld information often emerges later during the divorce proceedings. Here are seven things to tell a divorce lawyer.
1. Hidden Assets
Hiding assets is unlawful. Amidst divorce, a spouse might choose to forgo disclosing hidden assets in an effort to prevent the courts from awarding them to the other spouse. The spouse may transfer funds into a personal bank account or give cash to relatives before filing for divorce.
It is important to tell a divorce attorney about all hidden assets. The other spouse’s lawyer can easily track down hidden assets through subpoenas, depositions, forensic accountants and the process of discovery. Plus, uncovering hidden assets damages the spouse’s credibility with the courts.
A divorcing spouse who must expose the other spouse’s hidden gambling debts or offshore accounts will be entitled to the legal fees necessary to investigate the undisclosed assets. Furthermore, the spouse who lies under oath about hidden assets will be subject to perjury penalties.
A spouse with hidden assets may not inform a partner, but a divorce lawyer should be told. A divorce attorney will be able to work together with the spouse to reach agreeable ends. Hiding financial information will, in the end, cost more than is worth protecting.
2. Substance Abuse
Psychological issues, including substance addictions, that have been diagnosed and are being treated are not reasons to prevent a spouse from being granted child custody. Yet, divorcing parents may hide psychological conditions or addictions out of fear that the diagnosis could hurt a child custody case.
The courts are likely to deny child custody when psychological conditions or physical health conditions interfere with a parent’s ability to provide adequate care for a dependent child. For this reason, a divorce lawyer should be informed about any psychological diagnoses.
By disclosing this information to a divorce lawyer and demonstrating that ongoing treatment is effective, the attorney will be prepared when details about these issues come out during the case. Without knowing, a lawyer will be unable to protect the divorcing spouse from the negative impact of claims.
Marital cheating is almost always hidden. Naturally, the cheating spouse will not want the other spouse to know about an affair. However, a divorce attorney should know if an affair took place; otherwise, the divorce lawyer is immediately placed in a disadvantaged position.
During a divorce, marital affairs are more than likely to come out. The process of discovery is utilized in most divorce cases, and lawyers from the opposing party may hire private investigators or utilize other means of gaining information upon suspicions of an affair.
Spouses are advised to reveal if they believe a spouse gave them a sexually transmitted disease. Upon proving that the spouse is responsible for transmitting the STD, the other spouse may be able to recoup money during the divorce for emotional distress, medical bills and pain related to the STD.
4. Domestic Abuse
A violent partner can unleash fear in the spouse being abused. A battered spouse often does not disclose domestic abuse to even close relatives and friends out of shame or fear of revenge from the abuser. Domestic abuse, although terrifying, should be disclosed to a divorce attorney.
A divorce attorney who is aware of the domestic abuse will take immediate measures to ensure the safety of the spouse. If necessary, the lawyer will help the abused obtain a restraining order. A divorce attorney can also recommend shelters, counselors and other means of local support.
If the abused spouse still lives with the abuser, a divorce lawyer can direct the former in serving the divorce papers. Furthermore, a divorce lawyer who is aware of the domestic abuse can assist the spouse in suing (within the divorce) for pain, suffering and medical expenses.
5. Prenuptial Agreements
A divorce lawyer should know about any prenuptial agreements or verbal agreements that occurred prior to the marriage. Even seemingly unofficial agreements (such as a signature on a napkin from an engagement dinner) should be disclosed. Postnuptial agreements should also be disclosed.
Written contracts in any capacity are taken seriously in divorce courts. Contracts, whether prenuptial, postnuptial or any other form of written agreements, have the potential to alter the outcome of a divorce. As a result, it is critical that the divorce lawyer be apprised of any and all contracts.
Divorce can affect the status of a spouse who was not born in the United States. A divorce lawyer should be aware if either spouse is an immigrant (and not an American citizen). The attorney can provide legal advice for what to do after the divorce is finalized.
7. Desire for Reconciliation
A divorcing spouse may wish to reconcile rather than proceed with the divorce. It is not uncommon for a divorcing spouse to not truly want a divorce, which puts the spouse at odds with the divorce lawyer. Reconciliation may be achieved, but only if the lawyer knows about it.
Work with a Divorce Attorney
When you are battling a spouse in a contested or uncontested divorce, an experienced divorce attorney can help settle your case quickly and fairly. Turn to Allen Gabe Law, P.C., when divorce proceedings are expected. Our firm of family law attorneys will help you navigate the complexities of divorce.
The divorce lawyers at Allen Gabe Law, P.C., are highly skilled in all facets of divorce law. We’ll assist you with property division, child custody support, visitation, spousal support, domestic violence and financial agreements. If you signed a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, we will handle those contracts efficiently.
Get a Consultation
Allen Gabe Law, P.C., is prepared to handle your divorce case with professionalism, speed and accuracy to protect your best interests as well as those of any children involved.
If you live in or near Schaumburg, Illinois, and are anticipating a divorce, call us at (847) 241-5000, ext. 121 for an initial consultation.