There is no question that divorces can be overwhelming. With a number of different important decisions that need to be made, the divorce proceedings can put an enormous amount of emotional strain on both parties. That’s why they often look for various ways to lessen the burden and get through the process with as much ease as possible.
Their most common option is to hire the same divorce attorney to represent them both in court. While this is usually the case when spouses are amicable and agree on all terms of the divorce, it is still important to ask the main question – can divorce lawyers represent both parties? On the surface, it may seem as though there would be no conflict of interest in this situation, as long as both parties work together collaboratively. However, the divorce process is quite complex and a conflict of interest may instantly rise.
Here is more elaborate information on both parties sharing the same divorce attorney.
Using a lawyer as a divorce mediator
While a divorce attorney is ethically prohibited from representing two people with conflicting interests, a single attorney can aid in the finalization of their divorce. This attorney will serve as a mediator who cannot give legal advice to either party but can only assist in them coming to an agreement.
This is a very attractive option for couples because there will be no need to go to court and will give them a chance to save a lot of money on various legal expenses.
Some things a mediator can do to help both parties include helping them better understand the law, filling out necessary paperwork and identifying sources of possible conflicts such as child custody, assets and property division.
Protecting your legal rights
No matter how peaceful your divorce may be, you and your spouse are technically considered opposing parties in a civil legal proceeding. This simply means that your interests, as well as those of your soon-to-be-ex-partner, may be in conflict throughout the process.
Therefore, it is crucial that you hire an independent lawyer for yourself who will navigate you through the process properly and work hard to protect your legal rights.
After all, the main job and ethical obligation of attorneys is to look out for the best interests of their clients and make sure they are protected at all times.
Self-representation in a divorce
Sometimes people decide that they don’t want to hire an attorney and choose to represent themselves. This is usually the case when both spouses have mutually agreed on the terms and one of them feels like there is no need to hire a divorce lawyer. The other party’s attorney will draft the settlement paperwork and all you have to do is sign the document without legal representation.
While this may seem like a viable option that could save you a lot of money, in reality, it rarely does. In fact, if you choose to represent yourself in the divorce proceedings, you are risking losing more money, income and assets in the process. This could mainly happen because you wouldn’t have adequate knowledge of the law or the legal process required by the court. Therefore, hiring an attorney of your own can review any documents prepared for you by your spouse’s lawyer, give you legal advice and look out for your best interest.
However, if you decide to stick to your decision of self-representation, it is advised that you learn the laws and rules that apply to your case, understand how to prepare for and act in court, attend all hearings and make sure all necessary paperwork is completed correctly.
Divorces may get really messy and can cause both parties a great deal of stress in their life. There are so many important decisions that need to be made which often require the assistance and guidance of legal professionals to lessen the burden.
Although hiring the same divorce lawyer may be both spouses’ first option to finalize their divorce, it is recommended that each party hires an attorney of their own to avoid conflict of interest and protect their legal rights.
For more information on this matter, be sure to read our guide and learn about what it means to share the same divorce lawyer.