By: E.A. Putman
Pink and red hearts, kissy lips and “XOXO” themed décor abound us this month. The world is gearing up to celebrate another Valentine’s Day. When I woke up this morning, I heard a melody in my head, circa 1996, and it sounded so sweet that I had to break out my keyboard and tap a few notes, “Cupid doesn’t lie. But you won’t know unless you give it a try“. I was ten years old, wearing school uniforms and making keychains out of “string.”
112 (pronounced “one-twelve”) are an American R&B quartet from Atlanta, Georgia. On the single “Cupid,” leader singer Slim, croons to his affection that he loves her while simultaneously convincing her that he won’t lie to her. I remember belting out those lyrics without any comprehension or consequence of the meaning. Twenty-five years later, and practicing law for almost ten of those years, I realize that 112 was partially correct. Cupid doesn’t lie, nonetheless, people do.
It is said that honesty is the best policy, but, more importantly, you should always tell the truth to your doctor, lawyer and accountant. Those professionals are there to help you and, without complete veracity with them, your situation may not be resolved in the best way possible. It might be uncomfortable or embarrassing, but I promise you, in the case of lawyers, you might want to disclose certain things before the opposing party outs you in discovery, or worse, in court.
If you are going through family law litigation, here are a few things you should disclose to your lawyer, without haste:
- Your salacious social media activity (past, present and…future).
- Tidbit: Oh, oh it matters.
- Pending drug charges or convictions (and even deferred adjudications).
- Tidbit: Even if it didn’t happen in Texas, it still counts and believe, the other party will most likely use it against you.
- Untreated mental health problems and institutional commitments.
- Tidbit: Because society still holds mental health as taboo.
- Financial Problems
- Tidbit: Not the “I fell on hard times” problems but the “I take out second mortgages to support my gambling addition” problems. A divorce is a division of assets and debts.
- Child Protective Services
- Tidbit: Whether you were the parent or child involved, that situation and how it was resolved is crucial.
- Tidbit: If you are pregnant while a divorce is pending, your case cannot be finalized until post-birth. If you got someone pregnant while married, it may change the game on the divorce pleadings.
- Family Violence
- Tidbit: Whether you were the perpetrator or victim, that information is critical. 911 calls, police reports and subsequent criminal charges help, but are not the end all be all.
- Tidbit: Filing for bankruptcy during a divorce can throw a wrench in the case and prolong the case.
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude
- Tidbit: The State of Texas has declared that persons convicted of crimes of mortal turpitude cannot be trusted, basically. Rather, their veracity/ truthfulness should be evaluated under a microscope.
- Sexual Transmitted Infections
- Tidbit: While this may be the most embarrassing thing to discuss with your lawyer, if your spouse/ partner claims you gave them an STI (or converse–if you believe they gave it to you), there may be fault grounds for cruelty and adultery and even civil and criminal liability.
When in Doubt, Tell Your Lawyer Everything
If you have any doubts as to whether you should tell lawyer something, always err on the side of disclosure. But, more importantly, if you do not feel comfortable divulging “the worst things the other party can say about you to your lawyer,” that person may not be the lawyer for you. Your lawyer is not there to judge you, but cares about how the information you provide may affect your lawsuit. All of your disclosures will be kept confidential due to the attorney-client relationship, and failure to disclose information will always be worse for you than over-sharing.
The Putman Firm, PLLC is a family law litigation firm that handles a wide array of family matters including divorce, custody, visitation, child support, family violence assault cases, protective orders (criminal and civil). If you need assistance in determining your rights as it relates to your child’s education, please do not hesitate to contact us at (281) 501-9033.
Your health and safety is paramount to us during this COVID-19 crisis, but we understand the need for expert advise. Thus, we also offer phone and video consultations through our Your Family Law Attorney portal.