Can my divorce lawyer reveal infomation without my permision? 19 Answers as of July 11, 2013

I am divorced and I am seeing a guy who has been separated from his wife for 2 years. My lawyer is also representing his soon to be ex. At the last appointment I had with my lawyer over some issues with my own case, I was asked if I was dating this person. I was honest and said yes, thinking it would stay confidential. This lawyer is now trying to use this information in their case. Can the lawyer use this without my permission?

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Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
No. The lawyer should withdraw from both cases. He has a conflict of interest. You should get another lawyer fast.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/5/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
Your lawyer is not allowed to disclose any information you give him unless a) you are asked under oath about the information and lie or tell him you intend to lie or b) are in the process of committing or about to commit a crime or fraud upon another person. Your lawyer should have not undertaken to represent both you and your boyfriend's spouse at the same time, and he may have an ethical problem if he does not immediately withdraw. If he insists upon using your information in another forum you should report his behavior to the state bar association.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
Generally speaking, the two files are and should remain separate with their own confidentialities. Please note that he may have gotten all the information from your new significant other.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/1/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Absolutely not. Any information you provide your lawyer is privileged.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/1/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
This calls for an ethical opinion, you may want to discuss this issue with your lawyer and ask if he thinks he is conflicted? If so, he has a choice to make. If not, then advise him your communications are privileged and you do not waive privilege.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    It appears to be an unethical breach of confidential information to me. Contact the ethics office of your local bar association to press this issue further.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    In general, no. Anything that you tell your lawyer in confidence is supposed to stay confidential. Like all rules, of course, there are exceptions. However, you have said nothing in your question that would make me think that one of those exceptions applies to your situation. Therefore, he or she should not be disclosing any confidential information without your permission. It actually sounds like the attorney now has a conflict of interest.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Basically, NO. A lawyer is ethically bound to preserve client confidentiality so it sounds like your lawyer is, at best, on the verge of an ethical violation. Because there could be a serious question as to whether or not what you told him was, in fact, confidential you probably should first discuss the situation with your lawyer to be sure you both have the same understanding about what was said and why. However, if you believe he has violated his obligation you should certainly find another attorney and you may wish to file a grievance with the Office of Regulatory Counsel at the Colorado Supreme Court.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You can bring this up to the judge as a conflict of interest or that may be a reason why the attorney brought it to the attention of the court. I don't have enough information in your statement to know why it was presented (your current relationship) but there seems to be a conflict of some sorts.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    No, that would be a conflict under lawyer ethical rules - as it could ultimately harm you/your case if he is using it in a negative way.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No, that would be a violation of attorney client privilege. If the attorney uses something that you told him in confidence, that would be an offense that could subject the attorney to sanctions by the Florida Bar. You may want to discuss this with the attorney prior to reporting him or her to the Florida Bar.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You should file a grievance against him with the Sate Bar Association.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C.
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Fredric Harlan Aaron
    In discussions between attorneys and clients there is an expectation of privacy. This is the basis of the attorney/client privilege. In asking about your relationship, your attorney may have inadvertently placed himself in the middle of a conflict of interest. You should contact this lawyer and make it clear that you spoke to him in the expectation that this was a privileged conversation. If he tries to use or divulge the information you gave him to further the case against your boyfriend, he may be breaching this privilege. You need to make clear to your lawyer that you intend to exert your privilege with respect to the conversations you have had with him.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Your lawyer is ethically required to keep your communications with your lawyer confidential. Address that, and your concern,to your lawyer, without delay. If your lawyer violates your trust, he shouldn't be your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    No. Report him to the bar association.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. Your lawyer may negotiate on your behalf and make strategy decisions regarding what is disclosed and when.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    This is a tough question. It would seem like a conflict of interest and breach of confidentiality. On the other hand, infidelity is something that lawyers explore on a standard basis in divorce cases and they would probably get the information anyway by asking your boyfriend in the discovery process whether he had any affairs. So the answer may lie in what type of information the lawyer is trying to use and where he got it. You might want to consult with a lawyer who deals in ethics or malpractice or even contact the State Bar to ask some questions or get further information.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    From your description, your lawyer has stumbled into a classic conflict of interest situation. Short version, no he should not be using it, and may now be disqualified from one, the other, or both cases. You should get a second opinion in a consultation with qualified counsel, sometime soon.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If the lawyer used information from your case in another case without permission, you have a highly unethical lawyer. You need to do several things: (1) Fire the lawyer and get an ethical one. (2) Make a written complaint with the state bar of Georgia. The lawyer could be disbarred, suspended or disciplined. (3) Have your new lawyer see if a motion can be filed in the other case to exclude the information you gave.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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