Can My Divorce Lawyer Represent Both Parties?
The goal for many couples is to finalise their arrangements, efficiently and amicably. They work hard to agree on the terms of their settlement, including any child custody arrangements and want to resolve the legal paperwork as painlessly and as cost-efficiently as possible. Often they will assume that to make things smoother (and more cost-effective) if they use the same lawyer. They approach us and ask if we can represent both parties in the divorce. The simple answer is no. While it may seem like a good idea, there are reasons we cannot represent both parties. Conflict of Interest The legal term is a conflict of interest. This conflict of interests means, if there is any possibility the lawyer’s responsibility to a client would be limited by taking on another client, the attorney can only represent one. In a divorce where the parties do not agree from the beginning, each hires his or her lawyer. They know there will be discussions and possibly arguments over who gets what in the settlement and that one solicitor cannot meet the needs of both parties. Why it Matters Even when a couple seems to agree, there is still a potential conflict of interest. Both may start out with the same intentions. Hopefully, the divorce is a smooth process, and both the husband and wife agree on every point. However, what happens if the wife changes her mind about selling the family home? Her lawyer then needs to advise her on options and help determine what is best for her. If that lawyer is also representing the husband, they can’t adequately do so. Regardless of the initial intentions of the couple, there is always a potential conflict of interest. This potential conflict is why Leach Legal state clearly that we can only represent one party in a divorce. Perth divorce lawyers will not represent both parties in a divorce or any other legal matter. Remember, this is to protect you. At Leach Legal, respected Family Lawyers in Perth, we have your best interests in mind, and we will do our utmost to ensure we provide you with the best legal advice. To find out more, call us now for a free 15-minute telephone consultation, or book an in-person meeting. We can provide certainty and put you on the path to a functional settlement.