You should never lie to your lawyer in any legal situation, but especially never in a divorce, custody, support or order of protection cases. You may think to tell the truth will hurt your case, but it hurts your case more when your lawyer is not prepared to defend you when the truth comes out. I have dropped clients for lying to me, and though not all lawyers have or will, I will. My ego will not let anyone put egg on my face. Unlike some other lawyers, the dollar is NOT almighty for me. Below are a few examples.
In a divorce case: If you lie about the facts such as history of marital finances, try to hide assets or income, odds are your spouse knows and your spouse’s lawyer will flush it out. Today’s world of the internet, it is very hard to hide anything. Subpoenas can be served, depositions of other’s held, and hard drives analyzed. Once the truth is found, your credibility will be shot. It is always best to admit the truth in the beginning even if you think the truth will hurt you. It will tell the court that your word can be trusted. Your lawyer cannot defend what he or she does not know.
In a support case: If you lie about or just don’t reveal that you earn cash or work a second job and the other parent’s lawyer produces proof, the court in its discretion may impute more income to you than you actually earn and your lawyer will not be able to defend it. If you retain a lawyer claiming your arrears you owe are from the retro arrears set at the last modification and are otherwise up to date as the support is being garnished from your pay but on the first day your lawyer appears in court, he or she finds out your arrears are about 10 times what the retro was, you have only made three support payments in the last six months, and that your pay is not garnished, your lawyer will probably quit on the spot. I have quit on the spot and I know many other lawyers who have also.
In a custody case: If you tell your lawyer that you are the primary care giver because you are home more than the other parent due to both of your work schedules, but job records are subpoenaed and it turns out to historically be a lie, your lawyer will not be able to maximize your time with your children. If it turns out to be true, but only for the past few months because you changed your schedule to make you look better after years of hardly being home due to work, your lawyer must know this or it will work against you.
In an order of protection case: If you tell your lawyer you weren’t there, but then time and date stamped videos are produced, you lose and your lawyer cannot do anything to defend you (absent proof of faked or edited videos). If you claim the other person sped out of the driveway in reverse to block you from pulling away from the curb but pictures of the driveway show that due to bushes the car in the driveway could not see your car at the curb, and photos of the damage to the cars show that the car at the curb had to have pulled into the driveway to stop that car. Your lawyer will not be able to help you.
It’s not just don’t lie to your lawyer, but as well, do not omit pertinent facts even if they make you look bad. Many common lies in litigation can be proved with, including but not limited to: job records, bank deposits, credit and loan applications, emails, texts, hard drive content even if erased, google searches and security videos. What your lawyer does not know can and probably will hurt you!