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What is Attorney Client Privilege and What Does it Mean to Me in My Divorce?

Information that you provide to your attorney concerning your case and the information and advice that your attorney provides to you is confidential and protected from disclosure. The purpose of the attorney client privilege is to allow you to be forthcoming with your attorney without fear that what you say will later be used against you in court. The only exception to attorney client privilege is where you tell your attorney that you intend to commit a crime in the near future, or in some states, a fraud. In this circumstance your attorney may be compelled to testify in court about the conversation.

In family law cases the area where attorney client privilege seems to come up the most is when you bring someone with you to your appointment with your attorney. By bringing a third party to the appointment the confidentiality of the communications between you and your lawyer no longer exist. This means that your spouse may subpoena the person you brought to the appointment with you to testify as to what both you and your attorney said during the meeting. This is particularly common where clients bring a parent or someone they believe to be a friend who then later “switches sides.” The best piece of advice that can be given in this area is that it is always better for you to meet with your attorney alone first and if a parent (oftentimes the person paying the bill) wants to meet your attorney or wants information about your case have them meet at a later date and limit what your attorney discloses to them so that this person cannot be subpoenaed to court and be forced to testify to anything that would be damaging to you.