Sunday, October 1, 2017

Can One Attorney Represent Both Parties in a Divorce?


Attorneys are trained to see both sides of an issue. Experienced attorneys have represented someone on each side of most common issues, but not at the same time and not opposing each other.

Here's a simple example.  If the parties own a house and each one wants it, there's no way to simultaneously help both parties try to end up with the house.

That happens on all the issues:  Custody, visitation, child support, dividing the assets, dividing the bills, who pays the taxes, and on and on.

Why does the issue come up? 
  • People want to save money. 
  • They think a divorce is simpler than it is.  
  • They may have agreed on all issues, except one or two. 
  •  Or, sometimes one spouse will approach the other spouse and suggest that they can both use the first spouse's attorney who is a nice and friendly person.  It doesn't matter how nice the attorney is, the attorney cannot represent both parties.

An attorney can tell you what a Judge might do in a certain situation, but that might not be satisfactory to at least one of the parties.

Bottom Line:  An attorney cannot ethically represent both parties against each other.  If you think you and your spouse hired an attorney to represent both of you, you are mistaken and someone will probably end up unhappy.  The attorney will only be working for one of you. You need to make sure you hire your own attorney.