A few weeks ago, I was speaking to a fellow Family Law lawyer, and he said something striking: “I don’t believe anyone. Everyone is lying. And when I approach my work from this standpoint, it suddenly becomes easier.” It was a strong statement and one that made me think. Does everyone lie?
Why People Might Lie in Divorce Cases
So I thought about my work as a Family Law lawyer. There are reasons why people might lie to protect their interests in domestic cases. When the stakes are high, when someone is faced with losing custody of their child, for example, it is not a stretch to imagine that they may embellish or outright lie to try to improve their odds. So perhaps people lie, and deliberately try to conceal information that might be damaging to their case, but more often than not, they unintentionally leave out information or have a different interpretation of a series of events that transpired.
Assets Can be Subject to Interpretation in Divorce Proceedings
Additionally, appraisers can place various valuations on antiques, artwork, businesses and real estate to benefit the party who hires them; accountants can make the numbers say anything they want to; lawyers can and should interpret statutes and case law to benefit whomever they are representing in the moment; financial statements of spouses generally and regrettably leave something off of the asset column. People hide income; especially when running cash businesses such as restaurants and service companies. Therefore one can conclude that the machinations of Probate and Family Court are not an exact science, but are always subject to interpretation and a good argument.
Information is Gold in Divorce
An effective family law attorney can ferret out information advertently or inadvertently left out of the initial communications between divorcing parties. Information is gold in divorce litigation or mediation, and there are tools available to your attorney to use strategically, efficiently and effectively. But first, you must have a plan.
Develop a Plan
Billionaire oil investor, T. Boone Pickens once said, “An idiot with a plan can outsmart a genius without a plan.” So it is important to have a plan. Each moving part in divorce litigation or mediation is time-sensitive and can be expensive. If you do not know what you’re doing, it’s a colossal waste of time and money. Plans do not need to be complex or complicated; just effective. Issue-identification and which spouse has the burden of proof for each issue is important to know prior to mapping out any course of action.
Never Lie to Your Divorce Attorney
The most basic and elemental key to working out an effective strategy: DO NOT LIE IN GENERAL AND NEVER TO YOUR ATTORNEY. A good divorce attorney understands why and when someone may lie. They know how assets can be misrepresented and work on your behalf to uncover the facts. She will be your best friend; your navigator plotting out a map that will lead you through potholes and away from dead-ends. After all, you want the best legal advice and representation based on your circumstances; your real circumstances; not phony ones.