If both spouses in a divorce agree on everything, it seems like it would be a great idea to be represented by the same attorney, right?
Well, it isn’t quite that simple. While both parties can have meetings and conferences with the same attorney, they can’t both actually be represented by the same attorney.
It would be a conflict of interest for one attorney to actually represent both parties in a divorce case. This is because the spouses’interests may be opposed to each other. The attorney must be free to advise his or her client as to what is in that individual’s best interests. If the attorney represents both parties, then what is good for one may be bad for the other. It becomes impossible to act in the best interests of both at the same time. And it is a violation of the State Bar Rules.
But, in a true uncontested divorce (both parties really do make informed decisions and then agree on everything), it is not uncommon for them to choose an attorney they are both comfortable with. They may both go to meetings with that attorney. That attorney will be the one to draft and file all the paperwork, and appear at the final hearing. But, at the beginning, a choice must be made. Which party will the attorney represent?
The party who is not represented by the attorney may decide to be “pro se” (representing himself or herself). So, there may only be one attorney in the case.
As in any case, the more that the parties agree on, the more time and money is saved. So, this approach is a good one if it truly works for the parties.
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