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In virtually every TV or movie drama one sees involving lawyers and their clients, the lawyer, having found out facts about the client from another source, scolds the client for not telling the lawyer “everything”. In many situations, that lawyer is justified. 

It is absolutely true that what you share with your lawyer is held in strict confidence (something referred to as attorney-client privilege). It is also true that, if your lawyer has been practicing law for many years, it would be almost impossible to tell your lawyer something which the lawyer has not heard before. So if there’s something you are embarrassed to tell your lawyer, just do it. You really won’t see a surprised look on the lawyer’s face. Nor is it the lawyer’s job to judge you for your actions, just to advise and guide you. 

Much more importantly, if you hold back important information or facts, you take a risk of really shooting yourself in the foot, so to speak, and making it impossible for your lawyer to protect your interests. It is far better to give your lawyer as much information as possible, even if you think certain facts may have nothing to do with your case. Better to let your lawyer decide what is relevant and what is not. Failure to fully disclose to your lawyer could only hurt you, not your lawyer.

Even in a simple, cheap, uncontested, Pennsylvania no-fault divorce, you should fully disclose. I could not count the times a client has said to me, “Wow! Really? I sure am glad that I told you that before it was too late!” On the other hand, in truly simple divorces, the spouses are usually apart, the kids are not a problem (typical when they are also both good parents) and they have nothing that they want from one another, there may be little need to discuss all of the details. Under Pennsylvania divorce law, once a divorce is final, what you have is yours and what your ex-spouse has is and will remain the property of your ex-spouse, automatically and without a written agreement. Just tell your lawyer about anything you are supposed to get AFTER the divorce as well as about all items that are titled in both names, like realty, vehicles, accounts, and debts.