Ex Parte Versus Client/Lawyer Privilege: Explaining The Differences

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If you divorced a very sneaky sort of person, you may find that you are revisiting old issues in court again and again. If you have a divorce lawyer who listens well to you, you can get through this. If your ex tries to accuse you of "ex parte" when the only thing going on is "client/lawyer privilege," you may need to school him or her in the differences via your lawyer. That, or you can show him/her the following.

Ex Parte

Ex parte is Latin for "without party." It is a legal phrase that means you tried to communicate with the judge without including your ex and/or your ex's lawyer (if applicable). Typically in family court and in child custody cases, this is not allowed unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., your ex is in jail, or you have a restraining order against your ex for domestic abuse, child abuse, molestation, etc.). If your ex tries to hang you up on an ex parte claim when your communication was limited to your lawyer, he/she cannot. In fact, you can count the accusation as the babblings of someone who has completely lost it.

Client/Lawyer Privilege

Talking to your lawyer and conversations between you and your lawyer are just that--between you and your lawyer. What your lawyer chooses to do with the information has no bearing on you because you do not know what he/she plans to do with the information or does with it. If your ex catches wind of something that was said between you and your lawyer, he/she cannot claim that it was "ex parte" because your lawyer does not represent your ex nor does he/she have any responsibility to report what was said or provided as proof to your ex prior to appearing in court. Again, your ex would be in the wrong for attempting to sue you for custody of the children over an accusation of "ex parte" when all you were doing was exercising your client/lawyer privilege with your lawyer.

Communicating Directly to the Judge or Knowing That Your Lawyer Engaged in Ex Parte Communication

Sometimes there are reasons why your lawyer does not tell you everything going on behind the scenes. Ex parte communication between lawyer and judge may occur, but if you do not know anything about it, then you cannot be accused of this borderline unethical behavior. If you, yourself, directly communicate with the judge about something and do not include a letter to your ex about what you are saying with regards to your ex or what you want and need for your children, then yes, you are guilty of ex parte and your ex-spouse may have a case against you. Be very careful and hire a divorce lawyer from a firm like Kalasnik Law Office to protect you.