While it is important to make sure you have all of the facts about your lawyer before hiring them, it is equally important for you to be honest with them about your situation.
Family law cases are always fraught with emotions. Even though these are legal proceedings, real people, families, and children are involved, and if things don’t go well the outcomes can often be disastrous.
Your attorney understands this. They have to, or they wouldn’t be a child custody lawyer. It is important that you understand it too. If you do, then you will be less hesitant to share difficult and embarrassing personal information.
Here are some of the things you’ll need to be prepared to discuss.
You’ll be having discussions about your child’s relationship with you, with their other parent and with other family members. Your lawyer will want to know how they are doing in school, and if they are having any behavioral issues. Depending on how old your child is, your discussion could include topics such as potty training, bad dreams, and after school activities.
Be prepared to go back over the past five years of your child’s life including where they lived, if there were times that they did not live with you, how frequently they moved, and who their caregivers were. Any cases underway in juvenile court will come up during proceedings, so don’t neglect to tell your lawyer about them in advance.
Your child’s other caregiver
It is important that you are honest about issues related to your child’s other parent. If they are generally a good caregiver and provider, be honest about that. On the other hand, if you have concerns about their ability to properly care for your child, don’t be afraid to talk about it. This is the time to have those conversations. You’ll have discussions about the type of work they do, how much they are away from home, and what their personal relationship status is.
History of substance abuse or violence
If domestic violence or substance abuse are part of your story or your partner’s, make sure that your attorney has all of the details. Discuss the details as they pertain to your relationship, and past relationships. Arrest records and other information will show up during the process, and you don’t want your attorney to be surprised by anything that you haven’t disclosed. Lack of disclosure may be more damaging than the legal issue you were trying to hide.
Participation in government assistance programs
Participation in a government assistance program doesn’t necessarily work against you in your custody agreement. It won’t necessarily work against your child’s other parent either. Not disclosing it to your lawyer, however, can work against you and end up costing you your case and custody of your children.
Just be honest
No matter how bad you think it is, it’ll be worse if you keep it to yourself. We understand that this is a very difficult time. In addition to your child custody dispute you are probably dealing with a divorce and questions about alimony and child support. You can depend on us to help you with all of these legal issues. We’re experienced. We’re fighters. And we’re here for you. Give us a call.