Even though you and your spouse may be friendly and agree on all the terms of the divorce, a lawyer cannot represent both of you at the same time. The lawyer can only represent a party or party in a lawsuit. Representing both husband and wife would be a conflict of interest. Representing both parties translates into a conflict of interest, even if the spouses agree to all the terms and participate in a non-confrontational breakup.
However, in some circumstances, lawyers from the same law firm could represent opposing spouses with the informed consent of all parties. A neutral attorney-mediator can ethically help spouses reach an agreement in other cases. One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, can my spouse and I use the same lawyer for our uncontested divorce? The answer is no. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, a lawyer can only represent one party.
Even if a lawyer wanted to represent both parties in a divorce, they are not allowed to do so because doing so would be a conflict of interest. While there is no situation where a divorce lawyer can represent you and your spouse, a single lawyer can help you finalize your divorce. Mediation is a process in which a mutually chosen third party helps divorcing spouses agree on terms. It is often chosen to save couples the time and hassle of going through a trial.
A lawyer can act as your mediator, as long as you do not provide legal advice. The downside to mediation is that if you use an attorney as your mediator, they cannot provide you with any legal advice. To get legal representation, you would need to hire an independent lawyer. Being aware of your rights is essential during the divorce process.
While mediation is cheaper than a trial, unfavorable conditions may cost you in the future. You may want to go through your divorce without legal assistance. If you and your partner have mutually agreed on the terms, you may feel that there is no need to hire a divorce lawyer. If your spouse has hired an attorney, you can complete the settlement documentation.
You can sign this paperwork without legal representation. However, your spouse's lawyer cannot provide you with any legal advice. This means that if you have any questions about what you are accepting, you will need to find an independent lawyer to advise you. Regardless of how friendly you are to your spouse, lawyers have an ethical obligation to look after the best interests of their own clients.
A good divorce lawyer will know what your rights are during the divorce and will make sure they are protected. It's not uncommon to think that, because you and your spouse are friendly, it would be much easier and less expensive if you could have an attorney for both of you. However, a lawyer cannot represent both parties. An attorney is ethically prohibited from representing two persons with conflicting interests who are in a dispute.
The parties may attempt mediation without the use of lawyers, but the mediator cannot give legal advice to either party. The mediator can only help the two parties to reach an agreement. There will always be an inherent conflict of interest, so it is neither possible nor ethical for a lawyer to represent both parties in a divorce. A popular option for both spouses to get legal assistance from a divorce lawyer is mediation.
In divorce mediation, an attorney-mediator can ethically help both parties because the mediator acts as a neutral mediator. The attorney-mediator gives each spouse legal information and can even do legal analysis, but the mediator draws the line to offer legal advice. That means that the attorney-mediator educates both spouses about the law and the rights that apply in divorce, without taking sides. Generally speaking, there is no way a lawyer can represent both of you and not have a conflict of interest.
For example, both parties in a divorce want as much marital property as possible, one party may want more child support than the other party is willing to pay, and one might be tempted to try to hide the marital property. In this situation, an attorney would be required to disclose potential conflicts of interest and tell you why representing both parties in a divorce might not be a good idea. If there was no mediation and the lawyer only charges a flat fee, the lawyer may require the spouses to resolve every detail of each issue on their own. However, personal notice is not the only way to put the divorcing spouse under the power of the court so that the court can make orders with respect to a married couple.
For that reason, it is a violation of ethics and a conflict of interest for a lawyer to represent both spouses or parents in a divorce or custody case, no matter how amicable it is. If the lawyer informs the husband that if he goes through with this agreement, that he would essentially become a real estate “partner” with his wife after the divorce and that she could force the liquidation and sale of the property, he may change his mind about the deal, thus infuriating the wife. If your spouse has filed for divorce and you have told you that you do not need a lawyer, you should meet with an attorney to advise you on how the proceeding without an attorney could affect your legal rights. If you and your partner are getting a divorce and are concerned about the cost, you may be considering hiring an attorney to handle the divorce for both you and your spouse.
The husband's lawyer drafted a final divorce judgment which, in his opinion, accurately reflected what the parties agreed to. We provide advice on divorce law, divorce lawyers, family law, custody, support and other matters related to divorce, along with a directory of divorce professionals. If you are not prepared to take on the risks and challenges of self-representation, you should consider representing an experienced divorce lawyer. The spouse who hired the lawyer gets all the benefits of the lawyer's knowledge, experience and guidance.
A spouse who has hired an attorney could try to have the other spouse use it conveniently and save legal fees. Many fear that if each of them has a lawyer, the two lawyers will cause unnecessary conflicts or will be too expensive. . .
Leave a Comment