Can One Attorney Handle a Divorce for Both My Spouse and Me?

one attorney, DuPage County divorce lawyerWhen you are preparing to begin the divorce process, you are likely to have many questions. You are probably wondering how much it is going to cost, how long it might take, and what type of expectations will be placed on you. There is also the ever-present question of hiring a divorce lawyer, as countless online resources offer advice on how to handle a divorce on your own. Going through a divorce without the assistance of a qualified lawyer is not advisable, especially if you and your spouse own significant assets or have children together. But do you each need to hire you own attorney or can one lawyer represent both you and your spouse?

Conflict of Interest

The answer to this question can be found in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, the formal guidelines the govern the practice of law in the state. Rule 1.7 states that “a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest.” The rule goes on to say that such a conflict exists if “the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client.” For a divorce situation, this means that a single attorney cannot represent both you and your spouse, as your interests are, by definition, in conflict with one another.

What About an Amicable Divorce?

If you and your spouse have agreed to work together to get through the divorce process as easily as possible, it may not feel like your interests are in conflict. However, one attorney is still only permitted to officially represent one of you. In some cases, one spouse may retain an attorney who helps guide the negotiation process and the legal paperwork, but, technically, the other spouse is representing himself or herself. Such a scenario is possible for some couples, but, if problems arise, the spouse without representation can quickly find himself or herself at a serious disadvantage during the proceedings.

No matter how “friendly” your divorce may seem, each of you should strongly consider hiring separate legal counsel. The risks of making a mistake are simply too great, particularly if your case involves children.

Speak With a Skilled Lawyer

If you are considering a divorce and would like to know more about the process, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call [[phone]] to schedule a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., today and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have.



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