Free To Speak: What You Need To Know About Attorney-Client Privilege

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the term “attorney-client privilege,” but how confident can you really be about the communications you have with your attorney? Read on to learn more about this important and powerful legal concept.

What Does Attorney-Client Privilege Mean?

Your attorney needs to know everything possible about your case to plan a good defense for you. With that idea in mind, the concept of completely private and protected communications with your attorney came about. The concept is simple: with few exceptions, everything you say, write, send, demonstrate, or otherwise communicate to your attorney or a member of that attorney’s legal team is completely privileged, and the attorney will never be forced to reveal that information. This privilege extends long past your association with them and begins with your first utterance, even if you never actually hire them. Additionally, any past acts are also covered under this privilege.

Important Exceptions to Note

Some important exceptions to the attorney client privilege do exist, where you might assume that your communications with an attorney are private, but may not necessarily be so, such as:

1. Third party presence. It may be a total shock to some, but taking a friend along for emotional support for a meeting with your attorney could invalidate your attorney-client privilege. Along those same lines, if you meet or speak with an attorney in a crowded location, where your conversations could be overheard, you may also be putting your attorney-client privilege at risk. For example, if you meet with your attorney in a restaurant, you may have an issue if the tables or booths allow for others to hear your conversation.

2. Intentions. It’s important that when you speak to the attorney it is for the specific purpose of seeking legal advice. For example, if you just happen to meet an attorney at a softball game and have a friendly conversation with them, that communication would not be covered under attorney-client privilege.

3. Future acts. While past acts are covered, communication about possible future acts is not. Additionally, information about covering up a crime that could take place in the future is also not covered. Not only is the information not considered privileged but the attorney must also report the information to law enforcement or risk violating their duties as officers of the court.

Be sure to double check about privileged communications with your criminal defense attorney  before you speak, just to be on the safe side.

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What If Your Ex Does Not Return Your Child After Visitation?

In many instances, divorced spouses are able to follow their child-custody orders and co-parent their children. However, there are some instances in which problems occur. When your ex refuses to follow the child-custody order and return your child to you, you have legal options available to you. If you are concerned your ex will take your child and not return him or her, here is what you need to know.  

Will the Police Intervene?

Since you have an order in place, asking the police to help resolve the matter seems like a logical step. However, whether or not the police actually get involved depends on the officers who are assisting you. 

Custody is usually viewed as a matter for the family court. As such, some officers are reluctant to get involved and will advise the custodial parent to file a request with the court to hold the non-custodial parent in contempt.  

Alternatively, some officers will get involved and at the least contact the non-custodial parent and obtain his or her location with the children. If the officer you are working with agrees to contact the other parent, ask him or her to accompany you to pick up your child. Even if the child is not returned to you at that moment, you will have the police officer’s testimony regarding your ex’s refusal to return the child.  

Will the Court Intervene?

When you and your ex divorced, and the judge issued a custodial order, ensuring that the order is enforced became the job of the family court. If your child is still with the non-custodial parent, contact your divorce lawyer. He or she can file a motion with the court. A court date will be scheduled to address the matter.  

Before heading to court, you need to decide whether you want to change your custodial order to prevent visitations in the future. If you and your ex share custody, you need to consider whether or not you want to request sole custody. Asking for a temporary or permanent change to the court order could help to prevent a situation in which your spouse has your child and will not return him or her. 

Your divorce attorney can help you decide the right move for your particular custodial situation. He or she can take the necessary steps to help legally protect your child in the future, including asking for a change to your custodial situation.

Visit sites like http://madisonlf.com to find a divorce lawyer in your area to help you with your case. 

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