Top Ten Things Clients Should Know
Important Considerations for Your Family Law Matter
The information below is not intended to be nor should it be interpreted as legal advice; and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Do not tell anyone what you discuss with your attorney
You have a confidential relationship that is protected by the attorney-client privilege. As such, you cannot be forced to reveal what you and your attorney discuss. However, no such confidential relationship exists between your attorney and your family or friends, so be careful how much information you share.
Secure your online privacy
As technology continues to change and become more advanced, there are various risks that can negatively impact one’s case. If you are a user of social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), consider turning on and/or maximizing your privacy settings. The content posted on social media profile pages can be used as evidence against a party involved in a family law matter. Further, if you are contemplating deleting any content on a social media page(s), it is important to save the information first to some type of storage platform. This measure ensures that the deleted content is preserved appropriately in the event it becomes relevant to your legal issue.
Think before you act and be mindful of how you communicate with others
What you say and how you say it can greatly impact your case. Upon request, the opposing party is entitled to your emails, text messages, computers, and cell phones. Further, in North Carolina, one party may legally record conversations with another. Also, try to set aside negative emotions about the other parent in order to develop a positive co-parenting relationship so as to make the best parenting decisions possible for your child. Do not put your child in the middle of the adult issues and conflict.
Start gathering relevant documents and information that may support your case
This includes bank, retirement, and credit card statements, phone records, text messages, emails, and photographs. These documents can help establish the foundation of your case along with witness testimony.
Do not destroy evidence that could be used in the case
Do not throw away or delete any old emails, letters, text messages, financial statements or records, etc., as they may be requested at a later date. Spoliation of evidence is the altering or destroying of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding. Besides the potential sanctions you may face, spoliation often leads to a negative inference against the one destroying the evidence. Instead, it is a good idea to begin storing this information in a secure place. If you have information that may be negative to your case, it is important to share it with your attorney so you can address it if necessary.
Refrain from dating during the case
As a general rule, it is best not to get involved in a romantic relationship while dealing with a family law issue. Avoid dating websites as your profile may be used against you in your case. Children can be confused when a new romantic partner is introduced to them and also if that relationship ends. Even if a new relationship is platonic, you may spend a lot of money just to prove that no wrongdoing occurred during the marriage or that this relationship does not negatively impact your parenting ability and judgment.
Take care of yourself and make good choices
Try reducing your stress by maintaining a daily routine, incorporating physical activity into your life, and eating a healthy diet. Taking care of yourself will hopefully position you to take the best care of your children.
If you are currently on medication, make sure you continue taking it as prescribed by your doctor
Do not self-medicate or adjust your current regimen. If you believe the opposing party will make allegations that you have an addiction, be proactive, get evaluated and seek the help recommended. If you do have mental health or addiction issues, there is no shame in seeking help. In fact, taking the initiative to seek professional help may be beneficial to your case.
Consider who may testify on your behalf
Start thinking about who would be willing to testify on your behalf and who the opposing party may contact to testify on his or her behalf. Do not contact your potential witnesses and attempt to convince them to be on your side. Consider what each person will say about you and your family, as well as the witness’s background and any issues he or she may have.
Establish a secure line of communication between you and your attorney
If you do not have a personal email address, create one for correspondence between you and your attorney. Communications sent to and from your work email address may not be confidential and you run the risk of your employer having access to these confidential communications. Make sure your new email account has a new, different password that only you know. You may also want to change the passwords for your other accounts and electronic devices.