THURMAN's TIPS: Here is a little tidbit of information about the application of attorney-client
privileges in divorce, where parties previously jointly retained an attorney
to advise them about important topics of common interest, before separation
and the ensuing divorce. How to get into evidence what either spouse said
to that attorney - i.e., my mother's investment was NOT a gift but
the spouse never took claimed it was a gift at the time.
When spouses have hired a lawyer on a matter of common interest and either
makes comments to that attorney in the course of that representation (whether
separately or together in one session), e.g., to form a company that one
claims is now community property,
there is no attorney-client privilege objection and so the joint attorney
can testify as to what either said to him/her! The privilege that would otherwise silence the attorney about those crucial
admissions does not exist, by operation of law, per section 962.
I promise you that almost nobody, including judges, know about this joint-client
exception to the rule that would otherwise preclude cross-examination
of that attorney in a divorce case or other family law or civil proceeding,
involving the same parties in litigation between them - like a divorce
- at a later time! (I bumped into it doing my own due diligence in a recent
trial). This situation often arises in high asset cases, involving limited
liability companies, operating agreements, and business entities that
are created before separation.
Be prepared to brief your family court bench officer on this in advance
about this privilege waiver, so that they can study the question before
your trial or hearing because they will resist your argument until they
are shown that the exception does apply. It goes against common wisdom
about the sanctity of attorney client privileges (before the Trump era, neh?)
This attorney-client privilege exception also applies to "confidential"
communications with other professionals like those with doctors, priests,
etc. Look at the statute if privileges seem to foreclose cross-examination
of the professional, because indeed the testimony of that professional
may be fully admissible!
CALIFORNIA EVIDENCE CODE SECTION 962
Evidence Code Section 962
Where two or more clients have retained or consulted a lawyer upon a matter
of common interest, none of them, nor the successor in interest of any
of them, may claim a privilege under this article as to a communication
made in the course of that relationship when such communication is offered
in a civil proceeding between one of such clients (or his successor in
interest) and another of such clients (or his successor in interest).