The short answer is NO. An inherent conflict of interest will always exist in every divorce case, so it is neither possible nor ethical for one attorney to represent you and your spouse in your divorce case.
A divorce attorney is ethically bound to represent only one person in a divorce. They are prohibited from giving your spouse legal advice, as one divorce attorney can’t watch out for the best interests of both you and your spouse. Representing you and your spouse at the same time is a conflict of interest, and therefore unethical.
In every divorce case your divorce attorney owes you a duty of loyalty. And there is no possible way a divorce attorney can remain loyal to you and your spouse in your divorce. Their duty would be compromised in any divorce case, as parties often have different objectives in a divorce. These differences would create a conflict preventing the divorce attorney to advocate appropriately, and remain loyal to one client.
Divorce attorneys are obligated to give you the best legal advice to you. It is impossible to give you and your spouse the best legal advice, and to represent the best interests of you and your spouse at the same time. Divorce attorneys represent one person at a time, we work at your direction, and are ethically bound to serve one person (not both parties in a divorce action).
You and your spouse are opposing parties in your divorce. Even if you and your spouse have agreed to resolve your divorce amicably, and have agreed to the terms of your divorce, you are still opposing parties. There are times when you and your spouse start your divorce intending to be amicable. And then something happens, and you and your spouse are headed to litigation. Now what do you do if you are sharing the same divorce attorney? This is way divorce attorneys are prohibited from representing opposing parties in any type of case.
Divorce attorneys are bound to protect their client’s confidentiality. The information you share with your divorce attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege. This allows you to freely talk to your divorce attorney about the specifics of your case, to discuss legal strategy and goals, and your concerns without this information being shared with others. If one divorce attorney were to represent you and your spouse, there would be no effective way to protect your right to confidentiality.
In summary, there is no situation where one divorce attorney can represent you and your spouse in your divorce case and protect your best interests.
HELPING PEOPLE START THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THEIR LIVES. GRAND RAPIDS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we understand that filing for divorce can be an emotional and confusing experience. That’s why we are committed to providing personalized service to each client we represent, and will be with you through this difficult journey. At Schmitt Law, PLLC we encourage clients to take a more collaborative approach to divorce that promotes positive communication and cooperation. Through mediation or the collaborative divorce process, Laurie guides her clients through amicable divorce settlements so they can move forward with their life.
To discuss your circumstances and legal options, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation. Or contact us online to arrange a consultation. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.