[I]n our lives, we will tell certain professionals information that we wouldn’t tell our spouses. We sometimes trust doctors enough to share factual secrets about our lives that we wouldn’t want anyone else to know. It’s necessary facts they need to know for the relationship to work.
That’s understandable. Parents going through a divorce rarely consider giving an attorney personal information about their children. However, if going through a divorce, that process is critical.
Secrets Your Attorney Needs to Know
Depending on the child’s age and interest, your attorney might legitimately ask any one of a number of questions. School and after-school schedules, holiday church events, and other outside interests all can affect the divorcing family’s visitation schedules. For younger children, that might be simple; however, older ones who might be involved in several activities, it could prove more complicated.
So be prepared for areas your attorney might ask about your family. You have attorney/client confidentiality so feel free to tell your attorney everything.
Here are seven subjects you should be prepared to answer. You might consider being pro-active and write or type it up for your attorney.
1. Your child’s birthday, nickname, and school, as well as the aforementioned information. Where the child lives, his school, and who cares for him are just three of many factors that will come up in a custody case.
2. Information about the other parent. Your lawyer needs to know that person’s address, place of employment, if the other parent has remarried, or is in a domestic partnership. All of these relationships could have an impact on your child.
3. If there’s a history of domestic violence. While most uncomfortable, if this has happened, other details must be known, especially if a case has gone to court. Who filed the complaint? Again, a host of other factors come into play here, such as, was the child a victim or a witness?
4. Where the child has lived for the past five years? A series of changing living conditions means instability, and many children don’t thrive in that environment. Reasons for the frequent moves, who else was living in each house all give your attorney valuable insight as to what kind of stability issues your child might face in the future.
5. Are there other potential legal problems? Aside from child abuse, other cases against your child will likely be treated at the same time or at least be considered.
6. Whether child support has been ordered. Child support is often a reason a parent wants to renegotiate child custody. That’s different from trying to get out of it. Judges frown on parents they think are trying to avoid paying child support.
7. Whether or not you are receiving federal aid. Federal assistance can be interpreted that you are taking care of your child, and that you are making positive family decisions.
With regards to a custody case, a lawyer will always ask some personal and perhaps upsetting questions. However, a successful case is dependent on you trusting your attorney. While likely an uncomfortable, you might find that unloading all those issues almost cathartic; and if that happens, you might be developing a productive relationship.
What “must know” subjects need to be told to your attorney?
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