When the Divorce Attorney Has to Divorce the Client (Or Why You Shouldn't Lie to Your Divorce Attorney)

I had to fire a client recently. This is not a recurring event for me. It’s not even a sporadic event.  I would say that firing a client for me is a rare event.

But, over the years, I have had to fire clients for a variety of reasons such as that they were overly difficult, that they were not listening to my advice or —the bane of any lawyer’s existence— that they were not paying.

But the most recent time I had to “divorce” my own client was because I found out she lied. Not a white lie such as about whether she actually did call her husband a jerk in public when they were vacationing in Hawaii 10 years ago, or whether she actually did lock the master bedroom door so she could rifle through his personal items. These types of lies are a divorce lawyers every day dish.  Not that that makes it right. If you really want to put your divorce lawyer in the best position to be able do a good job for you, you should disclose everything to him or her.

No -but in this case, my client perpetuated a King Size lie.  Changing the facts a bit to protect the guilty, this was a very short term marriage – less than five years in duration.  She married her much older and very wealthy husband after signing a very specific and very iron clad prenuptial agreement.   After he experienced health problems (and she found a new boyfriend – that’s not the lie – I knew about that part), she decided it was time to move on to the next gravy train.

While the terms of the prenuptial agreement were quite detailed and unambiguous, we mediated the case, and I was able to secure nearly double what the terms for which the prenuptial agreement provided.    Why?   Because the husband, while frail and hurt, still had feelings for her and was concerned about how she was going to live the rest of her life.   That day, we executed a Marital Settlement Agreement, and she filed a Financial Affidavit.   A Financial Affidavit is a SWORN document, that tells the court what your income and expenses are, as well as what assets and liabilities you have.   And oh by the way, if you lie on this document, the court can penalize you for PERJURY.

So a month after the settlement, I find out from opposing counsel (HIS lawyer) that, during this case and before mediation, she signed a contract to purchase a home in another state for $10 million dollars with new boyfriend.  And he gave her an engagement ring worth $500,000.   So guess what the husband did when he found out?  He filed a motion to set aside the agreement because it was based on fraud.

My client’s response?  Yes, that is all true.  But she said blithely:  “He shouldn’t have read my email” (“that was on the iPad I gave back to him and that wasn’t password protected” – she didn’t say this part but this is what happened).   So she said she wanted to fight the claim.  And I said, okay sure.  But find another lawyer to do it.  You’re fired.

Bottom Line:   You can’t lie to your lawyer.  But more important for you, it will put YOU in a precarious situation.  Because if you don’t tell the truth, the truth will come out.  And most likely from the other side, at a very inopportune time.   In divorce, the truth shall set you free (pun intended).

More From Rebecca's Blog
When the Divorce Attorney Has to Divorce the Client (Or Why You Shouldn't Lie to Your Divorce Attorney)

Do This Instead of Calling Out Narcissists

When you're thinking about telling the narcissist that they're a narcissist, please don't do it. Do this instead. I have dealt with narcissists in my life, and a couple of them are very close to me. I know narcissists firsthand. Unfortunately, I've learned the hard...

read more
When the Divorce Attorney Has to Divorce the Client (Or Why You Shouldn't Lie to Your Divorce Attorney)

How do you uncover a covert narcissist?

Coworkers and friends with narcissistic personalities are not always easy to identify as such. Their behavior or opinions may seem a little off, but everyone has their quirks. How can you tell if they truly are a narcissist? Find out below what traits our readers...

read more
When the Divorce Attorney Has to Divorce the Client (Or Why You Shouldn't Lie to Your Divorce Attorney)

Working with a Narcissist? 13 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake 1 - Call a narcissist a narcissist to their face Calling a narcissist a narcissist, no matter how true it may be, won’t help. Additionally, naming someone a narcissist is unprofessional unless you are a mental health practitioner who has been licensed and who...

read more
When the Divorce Attorney Has to Divorce the Client (Or Why You Shouldn't Lie to Your Divorce Attorney)

How to Avoid Hiring a Narcissist

How can you avoid hiring a narcissist if narcissists out-perform non-narcissists at job interviews? According to several studies published in business and psychology journals, narcissists receive more favorable hiring ratings from job interviewers than individuals who...

read more
Previous
Next