Going through the divorce process is often an emotional and trying time. The decision to hire an attorney is an important first step that can be intimidating for some people. Many would prefer to first meet with their attorney with a friend or relative for support or comfort. If you are considering bringing someone to your attorney meeting, learn more about the pros and cons of doing so.
Advantages of Bringing a Friend
Having a friend or family member present during an initial consultation helps many new clients feel secure and confident in their decision. With the support from their loved one, some people are better able to take about their hopes and expectations for their divorce. Additionally, the extra set of eyes and ears may help the client remember important details that the attorney needs to know. Moreover, having another person present may help the new client remember things that the attorney said about the case, which is especially helpful when details are forgotten due to stress or nerves.
Disadvantages of Bringing a Friend
The biggest problem with bringing a friend or relative is that the presence of a third party dissolves any attorney-client privilege. The things you tell your attorney in front of your loved one are not subject to the same rules of secrecy as things that you would tell your attorney when you are alone.
Your attorney will not disclose whatever information you give him or her. But your friend is not under the same ethical obligation nor would your friend be able to assert the protection. That means if you tell your attorney something you do not want anyone to know and your friend is in the room with you, your friend could be called as a witness and must say what you said.
In addition to losing privilege and confidentiality, friends may prove to be a distraction. If your friend or relative has a different goal for your divorce case (for instance, if your sister wants you to seek out revenge rather than focus on cooperation), then it can be difficult to rectify your attorney’s advice with your loved one’s opinion. This is especially difficult if the person you bring with you happens to be the person who is paying the attorney’s fee.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, our attorneys will help you drown out the noise and focus on what is important in your case. If you want to bring a friend or relative to your divorce consultation, the choice is yours. Our attorneys will work to make sure that you understand your legal rights and options before you leave your consultation, and can schedule a separate, individual consultation with you later if warranted.
To schedule an initial consultation, contact our office by calling 509-572-3700 today.