Can a Divorce Lawyer Represent Both Parties?
When you are going through a divorce there are countless decisions to be made. It can seem like a good idea to cut back on expenses in any way possible. Some think that the most obvious way to do this is to have a California divorce attorney represent both parties in the divorce in a two-for-one type of deal. This is particularly tempting when you and your spouse have agreed to terms. In fact, it may seem like the best idea you have ever had. In reality, it’s not a good idea. It is actually prohibited by the code of professional legal conduct. Attorneys are banned from taking on clients with conflicting interests, and this includes spouses who are getting divorced.
Technically speaking, you and your spouse are opposing parties in your divorce, which is a lawsuit. This is a fact whether you are both dealing with the situation amicably or not. To represent both parties in the “lawsuit” would be a conflict of interest for the divorce attorney.
Requesting an Attorney Serve as a Mediator:
What you can do is contact an experienced divorce attorney and request that they serve as a mediator for you and your spouse in your divorce. There is no situation in which one attorney can represent both you and your spouse as legal counsel in your divorce, but one attorney is able to be the mediator for you both. Mediation is a process in which a mutually chosen third party assists divorcing couples to resolve issues and decide on the terms of their divorce. Many choose to work with a mediator in order to save time, money and stress.
Divorce mediators are not your legal counsel. Remember that when working with a divorce attorney as a mediator they are limited in what they are able to offer you. Mediators are limited to helping you understand the law, filling out necessary paperwork, maintaining communication with financial officers and representatives from the court, helping to identify sources of possible conflicts (like child custody, assets, property division, etc.), facilitating agreements on conflicts, and drafting a settlement agreement.
If you are interested in seeking the help of an experienced California divorce attorney to file for divorce or if you have questions about mediation and if it would be beneficial in your situation, please get in touch with The Maggio Law Firm today.
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