Couples who are divorcing amicably often question whether or not they need two separate lawyers for their case. These couples agree on everything regarding the divorce, and often have worked with the same family lawyer together as a couple for years. A reasonable question is then presented. The clients both trust the lawyer and know him, so doesn’t it make sense for the lawyer to represent them both in the divorce proceedings.
In some states, this is illegal. A lawyer is ethically bound to protect the client who is paying him, so it is unwise for a spouse to believe their interests are being protected as well. It is important for both parties of a divorce (even an amicable one) to have adequate legal representation available to review documents and agreements. If, for instance, a couple’s family lawyer drafts an agreement for alimony from the husband to the wife, and the husband has legally hired the attorney, the attorney’s job is to protect the husband. He would probably draft an agreement that mandated that the amount of alimony remain the same regardless of the husband’s income. An attorney who was hired by the wife, however, would point out the conflict of interest in the draft, and would then ensure the wording reflected the wife’s ability to petition a change in alimony if they husband’s income were to dramatically increase.
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