Deal with secrets and sensitive issues in advance

Things you try to hide during divorce proceedings have a mysterious way of coming out at the worst possible time, like during a cross-examination by your spouse's attorney. If you've had an affair, are developing an emotional problem, engage in substance abuse, have undisclosed financial dealings, or any other potential legal landmine, discuss it with your attorney. This way you can develop the best strategy to deal with it in advance.

In some instances, the best strategy is to deal with the weak parts of your case openly. If you appear to be hiding something and it's dragged out of you in Court, it can be more damaging. Presenting the problem in a forthright manner diffuses its impact, and contributes to an impression of trustworthiness and honesty, which can strengthen your case.

Be careful who you speak to and what you say. It's best to keep all information concerning your divorce confidential. Only share information with those who need to know, and who will directly assist you with achieving a favorable outcome. To do otherwise is to risk revealing information that can make its way back to your spouse and his or her attorney, and may be used against you in court. Your comments may be electronically recorded without your knowledge. Additionally, your spouse may have hired a private investigator to collect information about you, including anything you might have said in recent conversations.

For example, McAdams Law represented a father in his thirties who engaged in cross-dressing and taking feminine hormones. This issue manifested after the World Trade Center disaster. He'd escaped from Tower 2, then suffered posttraumatic stress and fell into a severe depression. His physical health had deteriorated as well; he developed a heart condition, and required a stent. Next, his wife threw him out. After that he went to live in a single room occupancy hotel, and began dating another woman. To compound matters, he lost his job.

His wife's lawyer demanded child support beyond his means and sought to severely curtail his parental rights. McAdams Law negotiated an agreement in which he would not to discuss his cross-dressing or hormones with the children, or to expose them to it in any way. The firm protected his share of the marital home, which he receives when his wife sells it or the children reach the age of twenty-one. Both spouses waived maintenance from each other, and child support payments were limited to the legal amounts he could afford to pay when he found a new job. This enabled him to get back on his feet and to maintain an important role in the lives of his children.

Attempting to hide damaging secrets in this case would surely have backfired.