It’s only natural to want to look good in front of others, save face, and work towards the best outcome in your family law case. Many clients make themselves look as blameless as possible in front of their divorce attorneys and the judge. There are various motivations for lying to a family attorney, such as:
- They don’t want to look bad.
- They think their attorney will like them better and work harder for them if they seem blameless.
- They are ashamed of their past actions.
- They want to hide assets they think their attorney will require them to relinquish or share.
- They think that if their attorney knows the truth, they will suggest or require a course of action they’d rather not take.
Whatever the reason, the temptation to be dishonest or twist the truth with your attorney can be strong and may even seem negligible or harmless. However, lying to your attorney can lead to much bigger problems than being honest will have. While it might seem beneficial and worth it at the time, lying to your Maryland family law attorney will cost you in court in the long run.
The Consequences of Lying to Your Attorney
One of the most common lies clients tell their family law lawyers is regarding their assets. In essence, they fail to disclose all of them. Maryland is an equitable division state, and as such, all assets that a couple acquires while they are married are subject to a fair (not necessarily equal) division if they get divorced.
Many going through a divorce have reasoned that if their soon-to-be ex-spouse or the judge doesn’t know about specific assets, it won’t be divided. It might seem simple, but the problem is that it’s hard to keep assets hidden. If your ex-spouse finds out you were hiding assets, your divorce can be later reopened on fraud grounds.
If it is discovered that you are hiding assets, the judge won’t likely think favorably of you for deliberately defrauding your partner. When a divorce case is reopened, the family court judge has the power to “grant such…relief as may be just.” In some circumstances, this relief might include awarding the asset entirely to your ex-spouse.
Not only will you suffer punishment from the court, but you will also likely incur extra legal fees for having to go back to court after your divorce case was closed. Your attorney may also decide not to represent you. In fact, you can have problems finding legal counsel in the future if they know or find out you were lying to your previous attorney.
Be Open and Honest with Your Attorney
Instead of lying to your attorney or stretching the truth, be completely honest with them about your situation, whatever it might be, and your concerns. They may have better news for you than you think. Being honest with your attorney will help ensure that you get the best outcome possible in your case the first time around. It will also decrease the overall costs, financial and otherwise, of your divorce. Most attorneys know that they are often meeting people at one of the worst times of their lives, and they don’t expect you to be perfect. Only when you are honest with them can they help you to the greatest extent possible.