Going through a divorce is going to cause some ripples in your life and probably some troubles and frustrations. If you want to do everything you can to eliminate as many obstacles as possible, can you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree to use one divorce attorney for each of your legal counsel? In most cases, the answer is no.
Oppositions & Conflicts of Interest
Even if your divorce is uncontested, meaning you and your spouse agree on all the important terms and conditions, you are still both technically on opposing sides of the courtroom. Any attorney that represents one of you will not be permitted to also represent the other because this would create a conflict of interest. Imagine how absurd it would be for both the defense and prosecution to be handled by just one lawyer; family law courts would see the same absurdity in a case where two spouses shared one attorney. Basically, if there is a possibility of a serious conflict of interests, any decisions or agreements made could be subject to undue influence, and the court can’t accept it.
Divorcing with Neutrality
You cannot go into court both sharing one attorney, but what if you don’t rely on the courtroom to settle your disagreements? If you decide to use mediation and come up with a divorce agreement in a conference room instead of a courtroom, you are looking at an entirely different legal situation than before. During mediation, you can use one attorney, but that lawyer isn’t representing you or your ex-spouse. Instead, the family lawyer overseeing your mediation acts as a neutral party that helps each but fights for neither.
The responsibilities of an attorney-mediator include:
- Explaining the nuances of family law
- Ensure all paperwork is completed accurately
- Checking finances for full disclosure
- Discuss potential points of contention
- Ease tensions and encourage collaboration
- Draft final divorce settlement agreements
Remember that an attorney-mediator is working in total confidentiality and not technically for either spouse. If you want them to testify in court later for you, there is nothing that says they have to. In fact, most won’t and the court won’t want them to because that would create a new conflict of interest.
If you think that mediation might be the solution you are looking for in your divorce process, contact Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC. Our divorce lawyers represent clients all throughout Southern California and bring 200+ years of total family law expertise to each case we handle. We look forward to helping you.