Almost anything the client says to us as attorneys is privileged, but there are times if a client, for instance, said that they intend to kill their spouse tonight, it is not privileged. If there is a threat of a criminal act that we believe to be a viable threat, we are required under the law to breach that privilege and to inform the authorities. That almost never happens.
It is very important that divorce clients or anybody who comes in for a consultation understand that this is something very personal. Even though there is a business relationship between you and your attorney, you need to find an attorney that you can trust to use this information where it is appropriate and where it needs to be used in a certain case.
For example, if counsel to the other side is going to ask if you have a girlfriend and if we know as your attorney that you do have a girlfriend but you say under oath that you don’t have a girlfriend, we have to tell you that you need to correct that on the record. You’re under oath and we’re still officers of the court. In that scenario we may be able to say to the client that the court really doesn’t care that you have a girlfriend and here are the instances in which they would care. For instance, the Court would care if you have been using marital money on them orif they have a criminal history or something of that nature that would have a bad effect on a child. Once we get that information we can say to them, okay this would be an appropriate place to use this in your case, to fess up about this or to not fess up about it because once they get under oath, they do have to be honest in their proceedings.