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Don’t lie to your divorce attorney. Here’s why:

Posted by Joseph Emmerth | Jul 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

For some reason, and God only knows why, there is a small but consistent percentage of clients who feel that they need to withhold information from their attorney.  Let me propose some other scenarios to you, and you decide if the people in them are behaving rationally or irrationally:

Scenario one: your car or truck has been making strange sounds for about a month. It has gotten to the point where not only is it making noises, but it's shuddering and sometimes refusing to start.  You decide to take it to the mechanic, and once you arrive, he asks you to describe what's been happening. However, this is your automobile, and you feel uncomfortable telling him exactly what it has been doing.  After all, this is your personal vehicle, and you have a right to privacy. So, you just tell the mechanic, “it's just not acting right.” You don't tell him about the noises it has been making or the shuddering and starting issues.

Scenario two: you've been feeling really run down for the past few weeks. You've been having problems sleeping, you don't have an appetite, and now you're starting to get headaches with disturbing frequency. You make an appointment to go see your doctor.  When you go to your appointment, you don't disclose any of your symptoms, and you simply tell your treating physician that you “just haven't felt like yourself lately.” You refuse to discuss any details with the doctor.

Do the people in the scenarios listed above sound like rational people?  Or do they sound like complete and utter morons who are only making things more difficult and expensive for them in the long run?  The answer is clearly the latter. In fact, while you were reading through them, I'm fairly confident that most of you were thinking, “what the hell are these people thinking?”  or, “what are these people doing?” A lot of people would go so far as to say that the people in these scenarios are insane because they are clearly acting against their own best interests.  Yet, there remains the small but consistent percentage of clients that do exactly that with their own attorneys.

From an attorney's perspective, this is one of the least effective ways to go about things.  Yet a certain percentage of clients continue to do it, without fail. There is a scene in the movie Fight Club where Tyler Durden addresses his new recruits with a megaphone, telling them, “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.”  A lot of divorce attorneys feel the same way about their clients from time to time. While it is true that every case has its own quirks, flow, and dynamics, believe me when I tell you that you are not going to surprise your attorney with some revelation that you might be hiding away.  Any divorce attorney who's been practicing more than a decade has quite literally seen it all; every kind of infidelity, poor decision, illegal behavior, criminal activity, kinky quirk, etc. If you felt bad enough to go see your doctor, you wouldn't lie to them, and if your vehicle was operating so poorly that you felt the need to take it to the mechanic, you wouldn't lie to them either.  So why would you lie to your attorney?

I am only here to help you.  My mission, both philosophically and legally, is to serve your best interests.  A high degree of skill and good customer service are what I strive to provide. It becomes incredibly hard to do that if clients are not honest.  I'm not here to judge you. I'm not here to second-guess your decisions or to berate you for poor choices. My job is to take you as you are, dirty laundry and all, assess the facts, and craft a strategy to help you achieve your goals.  Let's do this. Contact me today.

About the Author

Joseph Emmerth

Joseph concentrates his practice in divorce matters, post-divorce modifications, parentage matters, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and other men's legal issues. Joseph was voted an Illinois SuperLawyer by his fellow attorneys in 2015, 2016 and 2017.


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