Divorce law is different from other types of law. In fact, it’s different from almost anything you experience in daily work, in the public world, and in private life. Nothing is sacred, or secret. And we all have our secrets.
Things that even your closest friend may not know about you, such as a torrid affair, have an uncanny way of coming out in a divorce. The secrecy of these little tidbits — embarrassing, illegal, or wrong things that we all have done — allow us to look at others with a straight face and suppress our own stories.
Hopefully, these will not be launched into the cyber-world by the other spouse, come up in a custody evaluation, or play out in the courtroom. Particularly where custody is in dispute, everybody and everything seems to be fair game. You need to anticipate that your secret will not remain so, and trust your divorce lawyer with the skeletons in your closet. Tell your lawyer about any of the following:
- Current (or past) illegal drug use and/or addiction issues.
- Taking anti-depressants or mental health diagnoses or treatments.
- Being romantically involved with anyone else.
- Childhood trauma, such as molestation, or if you have a juvenile history.
- Cheating on your taxes, in business, or at work.
- Unusual, deviant or illegal sex desires, and whether you act on them.
- Criminal acts that you have committed and gotten by with that your spouse knows about.
To be effective, your divorce lawyer needs to help you properly characterize these items and not let them be used to obscure the merits of your legal position. I can tell you: any divorce lawyer who has practiced for any length of time has heard it all before. The last place your lawyer wants to hear about it is from someone other than you and to be unprepared with a rebuttal. This may make or break your case!