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Things to tell your Family Law lawyer in the first consultation

I understand that no one likes to air their dirty laundry to a lawyer they have just met. But, in the context of Family Law there are three important things to bear in mind:

  • You cannot change your past. It is important to be honest about the past if it is relevant to the outcome;
  • If I am going to provide you with sound legal advice, it is vitally important that I know about all the skeletons hidden away in your closet. This is especially true in Family Law, when every seemingly forgotten fact from your past could be important in determining the matter – or in a bad case, could be used by the other side to build a case against you; and
  • I take the duty of confidentiality that I owe you very seriously. Without your express consent I cannot reveal the information you to tell me.

Consider answering the following questions before your first consultation:

  1. What is the worst thing that somebody would say about you, even if it wasn’t true?
  2. Do you have a criminal record? Is your spouse aware of any criminal behavior in which you have been involved? Does your spouse have any recent arrests, warrants or a criminal record?
  3. Have you ever been treated for mental illness, addiction or placed in a treatment center for mental health issues?
  4. Do you have any past involvement with the government department in charge of child welfare (“DOCs”)?
  5. Do you have any other children that don’t live with you? Are you financially supporting them?
  6. Have you ever been involved in other litigation of any kind? What was the result?
  7. Are you telling the truth? Could the opposing party try to prove otherwise?
  8. Have you forgotten to tell me anything that could be integral in representing you or in understanding who you are?

*Or if there is an immediate risk of harm to a child or imminent likelihood of a criminal offence being committed.

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