For many, divorce is a time of defensiveness. You might feel the need to keep secrets, hide the whole truth, or avoid disclosing certain information to those around you to protect your own best interests. One person you shouldn’t be deceptive with is your divorce lawyer. Your attorney is on your side, but can only help you when he or she has all of the important information about your situation. The following are pieces of information your divorce lawyer absolutely needs to know – the sooner the better.
You Don’t Really Want a Divorce
You’d be surprised at the number of people who seek help from divorce attorneys but don’t actually want a divorce. Many people are silently hoping to reconcile, and only go through with hiring a lawyer to show their spouses they’re serious about making changes in the relationship. If you’re hoping to reconcile and not actually go through with your divorce, you will be at odds with your lawyer, whose main goal is to finalize your split. Reconciliation is a good thing and something your lawyer can help you with – but only if you’re on the same page.
You Signed a Prenuptial Agreement
Absolutely tell your lawyer about any prenuptial agreements you signed or those you verbally agreed to before your marriage. This includes any type of agreement you might not have known was official, such as a napkin you signed when you and your spouse were out to dinner during engagement planning. The courts take written contracts very seriously in any capacity. The same is true for any postnuptial agreements you signed. These contracts can change the outcome of your divorce case and are critical information to give to your lawyer.
One of You Isn’t an American Citizen
Divorce contracts can affect the citizenship of a spouse who was not born in the United States. If your marriage ends, the status of a spouse who is an immigrant can change. Tell your lawyer if you or your spouse is not an American citizen, so he or she can offer help and advice for what to do after the finalization of the divorce. There may be immigration laws you need to take into account to keep you or your spouse’s status legal.
You Did Something Bad Your Spouse Might Bring Up
Don’t let embarrassment or shame hold you back from giving information about yourself to your lawyer. Odds are your Sacramento divorce attorney has seen and heard much worse things than what you’re on the fence about disclosing. Your lawyer is not sitting in judgment of you about something you did and needs to know in case the other side decides to bring it up in court. Furthermore, the legally binding agreement between an attorney and a client forbids the lawyer from divulging any information you give privately to him or her. So, don’t worry – your secrets are safe with your divorce lawyer.
You Have Hidden Assets
Hiding assets is never a good idea. It’s against the law, and the other side will likely uncover them during the “discovery” phase of your divorce trial. If you aren’t disclosing assets to your spouse, tell this to your lawyer. There are always better ways to get what you want than illegally hiding assets or offshore accounts. Instead of the story getting out during discovery when it’s too late to protect yourself, tell your lawyer so you can work through the problem together.