WE HELP FAMILIES RESOLVE CONFLICT PEACEFULLY


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Can we hire one attorney to represent us both in our Divorce?

Don't believe everything you see in the movies. In the popular teen pregnancy flick Juno the adopting parents end up getting divorced and the Husband states "I called Gerta Rauss. She says she can represent both of us. They call it 'collaborative divorce.' It’s apparently all the rage right now."

Although, collaborative law is "all the rage" right now, it does not involve one lawyer representing both parties.

It is not ethical or practical for a lawyer to represent both parties in a Divorce, whether through collaborative law or litigation

In fact, Rule 1.7 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits a lawyer from representing a client if that representation will be directly adverse to another client unless the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client AND each client consents after consultation.

Although both clients might consent, it is not reasonable to believe that a lawyer can represent two adverse clients at the same time in the same action and look out for both of their interests.

It is possible to have a lawyer act as a mediator but in that case the lawyer does not represent either party and is not looking out for either of your individual interests. It is also possible to have only one party hire an attorney, but it is important for the other party to recognize that that attorney is not looking out for their interests too.

If you'd like to learn more about hiring an attorney you can schedule an initial One Hour Consultation here.

You can also read a hypothetical example of a Collaborative Law Divorce on our blog here.

Thanks to Michelle Bernier-Capaldo for suggesting this question.

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