Think Twice Before Bringing Someone Along to Meet Your Lawyer
The concept of lawyer-client confidentiality is the pinnacle of our legal system. Without confidentiality, clients would be unable to speak freely and truthfully with their lawyer and obtain competent guidance on their legal options. For those considering divorce, it may be tempting to bring along your friend or family member to an initial consultation when you are selecting an attorney.
Divorce is a difficult decision. You may feel unsure when initiating the divorce process or even fearful, especially if there has been any physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse in the marriage. However, if you want emotional or moral support as you seek out an attorney in your divorce, go ahead and bring that person to the consultation, but have them wait outside while you discuss the details of your marriage with your attorney.Risks of Bringing a Third Party Into an Attorney Consultation
A key reason to have your friend or family member stay outside the door as you consult with your attorney is that of confidentiality. The lawyer-client privilege of confidentiality is held by the client, thus it is the client who makes the decision to break it. This privilege is broken when confidential discussions with an attorney takes place in the presence of others, for instance, in a public setting, or by bringing another person along with discussions with your lawyer.
Furthermore, during divorce allegiances often shift in unexpected and painful ways. Friends and family members may shift loyalties and leak information that can be used against you. This risk is particularly acute when that person is an insider to your legal strategy in the divorce. You need a friend to vent to during the divorce process: someone to listen to your sorrow, rage, pain, and joys. Do not deny yourself of that essential need, but protect yourself, and your divorce by discussing matters with your attorney in private and protecting your confidentiality.