Therefore, it is not possible for a lawyer to represent both spouses. However, it is possible for a lawyer to represent one of the spouses in the drafting of agreed or uncontested divorce documents. Proposed agreed orders must be submitted to the other spouse before submitting them to the divorce court. Texas law does not allow divorce lawyers to represent both spouses in a divorce to avoid these ethical dilemmas.
While a divorce lawyer cannot legally represent both parties, a single lawyer can help finalize a divorce. The way this is possible is through mediation. It would be a conflict of interest for a lawyer to actually represent both parties in a divorce case. This is because the interests of the spouses may be opposite to each other.
The lawyer should be free to advise his client on what is best for that individual. If the lawyer represents both parties, what is good for one may be bad for the other. It is impossible to act for the benefit of both at the same time. And it is a violation of the Rules of the State Bar Association.
An Attorney Cannot Represent Two Spouses from the Same Marriage in a Texas Divorce. Rule 1.06 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct states that “An attorney shall not represent opposing parties in the same litigation. There is an inherent conflict of interest if a lawyer attempts to represent both members of the marriage. Both spouses can hire a mediating attorney to help the parties reach an agreement, but the mediator is not allowed to file the divorce and prosecute the case for the parties.
If you decide you want legal advice, it is strongly recommended that you work with an attorney to represent you in your divorce. Mediators whose clients are not represented will recommend that lawyers review their agreements before signing a legally binding settlement document, but it is always up to the spouse to decide if they feel the need for an attorney to do so. A spouse who has hired an attorney can try to have the other spouse use their lawyer conveniently and save legal fees. In most cases, sharing a lawyer is an attempt to cut the back-and-forth between two lawyers and an attempt to save money in divorce proceedings.
Even in situations where you and your spouse agree on all or almost every issue, you are still technically opposing parties to your divorce. The represented spouse will be responsible for filing the divorce and drafting a final judgment of divorce once an agreement is reached. One thing couples could do is work through mediation and then have a divorce lawyer hired by one of the spouses draft their final divorce decree based on what the parties agreed to in mediation. All that said, there are still options available to individuals in your position who wish to limit the costs associated with hiring two lawyers in a divorce.
Another option when the spouses have already reached all their agreements is for one spouse to hire a lawyer while the other does not have one. In addition, the mediator may refer the spouses to a neutral lawyer who will assist them in drafting and processing any real estate documents needed to change and register the title to property in the event of a divorce. If you and your spouse are in a situation where you agree on absolutely all issues of your divorce, you are certainly in a unique position. What works in favor of one spouse probably won't work for the other, so it's easy to see how a lawyer representing both parties would face a conflict of interest.
However, couples still save money and time if they mediate early because they work closely with the mediator to reach acceptable settlements first, and then they hire and pay lawyers only for what the couple needs. A lawyer for one spouse might not be a problem for the unrepresented spouse in a very simple divorce where there is little or no property to divide, there is no joint debt, no children, and both agree on all terms. .
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