Loose lips sink ships, less is more, mind your business, and be nice or at least indifferent. All good advice, given everyday and routinely ignored.
Coping with litigation, especially family law litigation, is tough. “Venting” is common and can be therapeutic,(click here for dealing with stress) but be careful who you vent to. If it is done to the wrong person it will come back to bite you. But…you say, “I am only telling the truth.”
The truth is if your cheating spouse loses his job everyone is worse off. The truth is if your spouse, who is a sorry parent because they are more interested in going to the Electric Cowboy, is vilified in front of the children it will be harmful to them. (They will know in time. An exception may be made if the parent’s sorriness affects the children’s actual safety).
Also, telling people your business does not bode well for reconciliation. Telling your “friend that has been through this” what a crummy guy he is, how sorry he is, and how abusive he is, means you and that “friend that has been through this” will NOT be friends when you and Mr. Sorry get back together. I know what you are thinking, “No chance in hell of that,” but stranger things have happened…
So who can you vent to?
- Your Lawyer. We are paid to listen, counsel and advise…though we all have our limits.
- Your Counselor. It’s their job, too. They listen, do not judge and can offer coping mechanisms. Don’t have a counselor? Ask your lawyer.
- Your Preacher. They have heard it before and are very familiar with Sodom and Gomorrah and fire and brimstone. Your situation is probably not that bad.
- Your Momma. I don’t mean this in the slang sense. Really, speaking with a parent, or other trusted adult, can help, even if you are a grown-up, yourself. Just be careful because what you say to a lay person is not protected by attorney-client privilege, doctor-patient privilege, nor priest-penitent privilege. (I have less concern about you telling your mom how sorry he is because deep down mom always “knew” it).
- Your Friend that has been through it. This can be a great resource of knowing what to expect and leaning on a sympathetic ear. Be careful here, too, as there is no privilege and she could be playing both sides, and reconciliation means y’all likely won’t be friends.
Be sure you let your attorney know who you are talking to. They need to know. They may have represented that friend, or otherwise been involved in that case, and may have some insight as to whether you should be talking to that person.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that knows how to keep quiet about your business. Confidentiality and privilege are two things taken very seriously at TLF.
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3 thoughts on “Keeping Quiet; Family Law’s Most Difficult Challenge”
Good subject, but there is one aspect not covered: where you are talking. It amazes me the number of times I have overheard conversations away from work that I wanted to interrupt and tell them to stop talking. The conversations included information that should have only been shared with their attorney and they were sitting in public just talking like no one could hear them. Knowing who is in a room is valuable information, and if you don’t know, don’t talk.
That is a great point and makes us all a little self-conscious about what we said, to who and where…
I know of several instances of things being said over speaker phones to unintended listeners, said in a “whisper” that all could hear, and said to a “friend” that was really a foe.
Thank you for your comments and contributing to this topic.