Dissolution and Potential Conflict of Interests

I get asked the question, "Why can't you represent both myself and my spouse in our dissolution?" more times than I can count. From the client's point of view, the parties are amicable and in agreement on all issues and so it seems logical to them that one attorney can represent both parties, but here's why, ethically, I'm prohibited from representing you and your spouse. Although, you and your spouse may be in agreement on everything at the time you come in for a consult, you may no longer be in agreement when you are ready to file. If your matter becomes contested, I'm now prevented from representing either of you because I'm privy to both of your finances. Even though everything may go smoothly all the way through the final hearing, if there are post-decree issues, i.e., someone is in contempt for not upholding their obligations under the dissolution decree, the fact that one attorney represented both parties could cause issues with post-decree representation, or even worst case scenario, one party could have a claim that the dissolution should be overturned.

So, although it may seem unnecessary, only one attorney should be representing each party. If you want a second set of eyes to review the paperwork because the attorney that prepared it represents your spouse, then find an attorney that will encourage that-our office always does.


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