It comes as a surprise to many clients when they find out how many people do not tell the truth in family law cases. It’s sad, but many people will “bend the truth” to get what they want in many divorce case situations. Depending on the situation, not telling the truth, and getting caught, can have serious repercussions to the person. For this reason I always tell clients that it is better to deal with the ramifications of the truth vs. the ramifications of getting caught in a lie.
As with most situations in family law cases, what is said, or not said, and to whom, will impact what happens. Getting caught in a lie that a person who will be making a decision affecting you, finds important can have a very negative outcome. This tends to come up in hearings for temporary orders or during a trial. Not only can the lie affect the particular issue that it involves, but it can affect how this “trier of fact” will view any other comments that you make later in the case.
Any people that will be making decisions, based on what you tell them, are not limited to judges and court commissioners in hearings and trials. In many divorce and legal separation cases, that involve parenting plans, will also have some form of parenting evaluation done. While honesty may not be a main criteria for determining where a child should reside, getting caught in the right (wrong…) lie may not help your position in the case. Moreover, similar to the judge, once you can a reputation for not telling the truth, will make it that much harder when a “she said, he said” situation comes up and you try to convince the person that your version is correct. I once talked to a potential client who was involved in an investigation to determine if she should be a foster parent for her granddaughter. She knowingly did not tell the truth to a few questions, regarding events that happened to her 40 years ago in a different state. The investigator did find out about the events and used the coverup of the events as a partial reason for denying the application. Had she been truthful, the result may have been different.
Lastly, there is always a need to tell your attorney the truth. The main reason for this is based on the fact that the truth is, more likely than not, to surface and not having the true set of facts, in many cases can result in the attorney not planning a proper strategy. An improper strategy can really really mess up the outcome of a case (bringing us back to looking bad in the eyes of the trier of fact, etc.) as well as wasting the time and money of planning one argument and then having to change the argument later.
This blog article is not intended to convey legal advice, but only address some of the general rules. Most legal issues, in family law cases, depend on the specific facts. Should you wish to discuss your particular situation with the Law Office of Thomas A. Chillquist, please call or email my office. I am a family law lawyer (divorce attorney) and I represent parties in family law, and divorce, matters in King and Pierce County, Washington, including Kent, Federal Way, Covington, Renton, SeaTac, Des Moines, Fife, Auburn, Seattle, Bellevue, Puyallup, Orting, Tacoma and Mercer Island. Copyright Thomas A. Chillquist