I cannot stress enough the need to be completely truthful with your attorney in all cases (except maybe criminal). They should not judge you but they need to know all the facts, good and bad, prior to going to court.
All too often clients want to be selective on which is facts are disclosed. At the end of the day it only makes your attorneys job even harder. If there are skeletons in your closet and your attorney knew what they were then they can come up with a game plans as to how to minimize the effects of those skeletons, or even eliminate them all together.
If on the other hand, you do not disclose those skeletons then often your ex knows, tells their attorney and now it is being used against you. Since you did not disclose it to your attorney the attorney if often scrambling as the judge inquires, tries to deflect the questions, or, worse yet, just looks at you unable to answer.
The most often types of skeletons that come up in family law pertain to the following:
- DCF involvement (past or present)
- Criminal history
- Use of drugs (including marijuana)
- Abuse of alcohol
- Domestic violence on any partner (past or present)
- Restraining orders sought or obtained (past and present)
- Written agreement between the parties (whether a court order or not)
- Emails or text messages between the parties
- Custody and parenting schedule for other children not subject to this case
This is only a partial list. In any civil cases or housing court cases the list above may be applicable, in addition to housing code violations, section 8, leases (written or otherwise), agreed upon reimbursements.
Provide your attorney will all the knowledge they need to best advise you and to defend your actions. Realistically this should be done in the initial consultation, or once the issues arise after the attorney has been retained.