The risks of bringing friends or family into an initial consultation

Divorce initial consultationWhen a party is thinking about hiring a divorce or family law attorney, it can be a stressful time. For many, they might not have envisioned themselves ever being in a position where they would need a divorce or family law attorney.

The decision in terms of what lawyer or law firm to hire is obviously an important decision. It is critical that a party be comfortable with the lawyer or law firm that they are hiring to assist them in their divorce or family law matter.

To assist with this, many consider bringing a friend or family member to the initial consultation with them. The idea is that the friend or family member will come into the initial consultation room with them to meet the attorney. In some instances, a party might even want to bring more than one person.

For many, the hope is that these folks can help them make the best possible decision in terms of whom to hire. Sometimes, a party might be so stressed out about the entire experience that they may worry that they will forget to ask an important question or to tell important facts. Many just want emotional support from those that are near and dear to them.

All of these rationals certainly make sense. The reality, however, is that bringing other individuals into the initial consultation room can come with a set of risks that an individual must consider. In particular, when another individual (or individuals) are brought into the initial consultation room, many would argue that attorney-client privilege or confidentiality is effectively being waived.

In other words, the third-party or parties who are brought into the initial consultation room could theoretically be later subpoenaed into the courtroom to testify about what was discussed in the initial consultation. As unlikely as this might seem, it is something a party should at least consider.

What many do not ever envision as well is that the allegiances of friends or family members can sometimes flip in the course of divorce or family law litigation. As unlikely as it might seem, it is not unheard of that a party who was once a friend (or even a family member) might later voluntarily reveal what was said in the initial consultation.

Certainly some parties might understand this and may be willing to waive the risks. But as a general rule, going into the room alone with the lawyer is a lot safer from a legal standpoint.

If moral support is needed, it is certainly not a negative for others to come to the law office with the party going through the divorce or family law matter. Those individuals can also certainly meet the lawyer you are thinking of hiring to see if they get a good overall impression.

But they should generally wait outside the initial consultation room while important case details are being discussed.

If you are going through a divorce or family law matter, Stange Law Firm, PC can assist.  You can contact us at 855-805-0595.


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