If you agree to get divorced, can you be represented by the same attorney? 42 Answers as of August 12, 2011

My wife and I have mutually agreed to separating due to irreconcilable differences. Can we hire 1 attorney to save legal fees?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
One attorney can't represent both parties.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
No, but one attorney can represent one of you and the other may represent themselves - assuming there is no chicanery and both parties have made a full and honest disclosure of all pertinent facts.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/3/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Yes. They are done every day. However, the attorney will represent only one of you, and the other will waive the objection to the attorney representing the opposing spouse. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/2/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Absolutely. There are two ways this could be done. Either one of you hires the lawyer, the other just rides along or the two of you sign a waiver of conflict so that one lawyer can represent both but keep in mind, if things go south, and you cannot agree on things, that one lawyer is not good for either of you.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/1/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
One of you can hire an attorney but both of you cannot be represented by the same attorney. Often, I will represent one party and do the paperwork for my client that the other side reviews and signs. If it is all agreed upon, I can handle it in that fashion.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/1/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. An attorney would have a conflict of interest and cannot represent two parties with divergent interests.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/1/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Absolutely not. It is unethical for an attorney to attempt to represent both sides to any kind of legal proceeding. That does not mean that one of you could not hire an attorney to handle all the legal formalities necessary to carry out what you and your wife have agreed to. Keep in mind, however, that you may or may not have actually agreed to everything that needs to be decided because there may be things that have not occurred to you; an attorney may ask questions and thus discover that there is not a complete agreement. Also, one of you might be agreeing to something simply as a result of ignorance or misunderstanding - once that person becomes more informed, the "agreement" might fall apart. So, while it may be easier, faster and cheaper for only one party to have an attorney, it may also turn out to create conflicts that you had not anticipated. A good attorney, however, will recognize that possibility and try to assist you in preserving an amicable settlement anyway.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    An attorney can only represent one party, the other party is considered unrepresented and the unrepresented party would have to sign an acknowledgment of non representation. However, one attorney could prepare the documents.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Durgin Law, LLC
    Durgin Law, LLC | Pearl Hsieh
    No, but one of you could be self represented with the understanding that there will not be any funny business. This would require 100 percent trust and could be a mistake. Many attorneys will agree to do limited representation in a non-contested (nothing to fight over) divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C.
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Fredric Harlan Aaron
    There is nothing preventing you from having joint representation, but you should understand that if there is any dispute between you and your wife either during or after the divorce, the attorney will have to secure himself from further representation due to an unwaivable conflict of interest. While this may be a way for you to save money, it may not be the best thing for you or your wife. It is always best to have separate legal counsel in a situation which can be as legally complex and emotionally fraught as a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Law Office of Daniel B. Rubanowitz, APC
    Law Office of Daniel B. Rubanowitz, APC | Daniel B. Rubanowitz
    Yes, it is possible to retain one attorney to represent both sides of a divorce so long as there is a waiver signed by the two of you as to a conflict of interest, but it is not really a good idea. The better way to address the situation is for you to retain the attorney as a Mediator to help you settle the case amicably. It is very hard for one attorney to represent the best interests of a party on both sides of the case. You are probably better off spending the extra money to each have separate counsel to avoid potential problems down the road, such as a judgement being set aside. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    no but sometimes an attorney will be hired by one party to prepare all the documents and the other will represent themselves.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Rice & Co., LPA
    Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
    If you agree on all the particulars, you can get a dissolution, with only one of you represented. Ethically, the attorney will represent only one of you, and will have an ethical obligation to look out for the interests of only one of you, the one who contacted and hired the attorney . Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. You can also do a simple divorce with only one party represented, which presents the same problem. Many people do dissolution and divorces with only one party represented, but there are risks inherent to doing do. I have seen quite a few examples of inequitable agreements reached in this way, and seen quite a few people come into my office representing that they have an agreement, and been forced to advise them that based on what a court is likely to do in a divorce, what they present to me is grossly unfair to one party. If you have one lawyer prepare the dissolution papers, and the unrepresented spouse then takes them to another lawyer to review, the second lawyer will usually charge much less than the rate for a full divorce, and everyone is protected.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    The same attorney cannot represent both parties. The two of you will have to determine who the attorney will represent and if the other party represents himself (pro se) the attorney will have to speak with, converse with, and draw agreements in conjunction with the other spouse who is pro
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    If everything is in agreement, you can hire a single attorney to draft the paperwork necessary to file and finalize the divorce. However, if any disagreements arise or if any issue, no matter how small, is not completely agreed upon, then the attorney would only represent one party. The attorney also cannot give legal advice to both parties. The process can be explained and the law can be explained, but no advice given. Advice can only be given to the party that the attorney represents.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    You can have a lawyer represent one of you and draft the dissolution papers. The other party would then represent him or herself, after disclosing in writing that they knew they were representing him or herself and assumed all risk attendant thereto. But one lawyer cannot represent you both; that would be a conflict of interest.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We generally will represent only one of the parties, but we handle, at an affordable rate, a large number of such uncontested divorces in which all issues are resolved. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    You can work with one attorney as a mediator - as a neutral party helping you through the process.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, the Bar rules prohibit an divorce lawyer from representing a husband and wife at the same time in a divorce. Even if the parties agree on how they want to get a divorce before meeting with divorce lawyer, the lawyer has an ethical obligation to advise his or her client if he/she recognizes a problem in an agreement for a client. That ethical obligation is compromised when he or she is also representing the opposing party as well. It creates a "conflict of interest." There is no requirement, however, for both parties to be represented by a lawyer. Often, just one party hires the divorce lawyer to draft all the relevant documents. The unrepresented spouse can either represent him or herself or simply consult with a lawyer only to review the divorce documents.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    Never. An attorney can only represent one party in a divorce proceeding. However, one of the parties can hire an attorney to draft the paperwork and speak with the other spouse. The spouse who is unrepresented can speak to the attorney and let the attorney know what they want, but that attorney cannot act and dispense legal advise to that spouse who is unrepresented.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    A single attorney can be hired to draft an agreement if you both agree. The downside is that if the agreement falls apart, neither of you may continue with that attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Most lawyers worth their salt will not provide joint representation, at there is an inherent conflict of interest. However, you can hire a mediator to help process your case. A mediator does not represent either party. But, can help both parties reach agreements that make sense for the parties, and also help process and finalize the case with the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Yes. It's called mediation. Due to the potential conflict of interest, the attorney may not give both sides independent legal advise. However, you may get a second opinion at any time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Elmbrook Law Offices
    Elmbrook Law Offices | Gregory Straub
    Technically, no you may not have the same attorney represent both parties. But you can have one attorney represent one party and the other party is free to proceed pro se.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    The attorney cannot have a conflict of interest of representing both spouses in a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If an attorney offers to do this, he is unethical and should be disbarred. Run like hell from a lawyer that claims he can do this. There is an inherent conflict of interest and a lawyer can only represent one side. If the parties are agreeable, the other party can decide if they do or do not want counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    No. It would be a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent the two opposing parties in a divorce. However, one party can hire an attorney and the other party can be in pro per (unrepresented), and it is possible to resolve the case - but then I would recommend that you be the represented party, because the other party would be at a disadvantage, not being able to get legal advice from the represented party's attorney, who would be looking to advantage his/her own client in the case. A mediator represents neither party - you could mediate the case, but if you do that, I would recommend that each party at least consult with his/her own independent Family Law Attorney to receive advice and assistance to avoid a bad result.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Even better, retain a Mediator who happened to be a lawyer. You will get great documents and helpful facilitation in 1 lesser expense!
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    I think that is highly unethical and you should run from any attorney who says he/she represents both of you. Instead,one of you higher an attorney to represent one of you to draft up the agreement. The other person will be unrepresented, or can consult with another attorney for a very short period to review the documents. How can one attorney represent both of you when every line of your documents can be drafted in the favor of one party vs. the other?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You can use one attorney in the sense that one attorney can draft all of the documents required for an uncontested divorce. However, ethically the attorney cannot represent both of you or give both you legal advice of any nature. The attorney who drafts the documents represents only one person; the other person should take the documents to their own attorney for review. If you choose to sign the documents without getting your own legal advice, that is your choice; but under no circumstances should both parties be getting advice from the same attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Yes, but the attorney cannot advise both sides - he or she can advise one side, or be a total neutral "scrivener" and not advise anyone.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    Yes, you may hire the same attorney to assist you in the divorce process. You would likely need to sign waivers of any potential conflict of interest in order for the attorney to represent you both. There are many family law attorneys that do mediated divorces or collaborative divorces who would be able to aid you in the processes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    No. Any attorney who agrees to represent both of you is committing malpractice and a professional ethical violation. Instead, one of you should consider retaining an attorney to prepare the settlement you've agreed on. Alternatively, you can retain a mediator attorney who will prepare your paperwork but will not represent either of you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    No. A lawyer cannot represent both sides of a case, even if they are in agreement. What you can do is that one of you can hire a lawyer and the other one can just trust that he or she is not being taken advantage of. Usually, the lawyer will want that person to sign something saying that the lawyer doesn't represent that person, that the lawyer is not giving that person any advice, and that the person is free to consult with a different lawyer of his or her choosing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law one attorney can not work for both clients as that represents a conflict of interest. You could hire an attorney to work for you in drafting the papers needed to put in place the agreement the two of you have reached, and then she could hire an attorney just to review the paperwork that your attorney prepared.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki
    Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki | Aubrey Srednicki
    In Arizona, an attorney may not represent a client if the matter involves the assertion of a claim by one client against another client in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal. However, an attorney may serve as a mediator for both parties if the nature of the representation is appropriately structured to comply with the ethical rules. However, in the event that the parties' interests become adverse, the attorney may be required to withdraw from the matter as a whole. This type of situation requires careful analysis by a skilled attorney to determine if mediation is the most appropriate option for the parties.

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    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/2/2011
    Linda C. Garrett Law
    Linda C. Garrett Law | Linda Garrett
    Response: No, as this would create a "conflict of interest." However, you can achieve your goal by hiring a mediator-who represents neither of you. Also, the mediator is able to draw up all the paperwork to finalize the divorce. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Yes, but if you do not agree with them, it can cost extra because the lawyer cannot represent either and you will then each need a different lawyer
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A.
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A. | John G. Miskey IV
    You and your spouse cannot be represented by the same attorney. In many cases, an attorney will prepare an agreement for one spouse and the other spouse can represent him/herself or ask an attorney to review.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/29/2011
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