One Divorce Attorney Cannot Represent Two People

Site Boss Admin

Posted By:
February 2, 2011

Divorce Law Blog

Most Family Law attorneys get the occasional phone call from the client who claims that their divorce is going to be simple and want the attorney to represent both sides. Unfortunately, there are two fundamental problems with this idea.

First, there is no such thing as a “simple” divorce. Ending a marriage is complicated.

Second, one attorney can never represent two parties in a divorce. According to Lawyer Rules 101, a lawyer “Shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client.” There is simply no practical way to complete a divorce where the parties are not at odds with one another.

There are some simple and cost-effective, non-adversarial approaches for resolving a divorce which are recognized in all states of the union: mediation and collaborative law. These two processes fall under the heading of “Alternative Dispute Resolution: and may be a more practical and certainly less-costly solution for the non-adversarial divorce.

Mediation – Divorce Mediation is pretty straight forward. Essentially, a third party, “the mediator,” is a person who helps facilitate communication. This usually happens in a daylong event where everyone is present in one building. The mediator sits with each spouse privately and has the opportunity to go back and forth between the spouses (who are usually separately represented by their own attorney).

The mediator’s job is to gain insight into what is driving the dispute and the reason why each person is taking a particular position. The mediator works with the both spouses until the dispute is resolved or there is an impasse. Obviously, mediation has the added expense of a third party facilitator (the mediator), but this cost is downright cheap compared to the price to have one’s dispute resolved by a judge in open court.

Collaborative Law – Collaborative divorce is a process in which you and your spouse negotiate an acceptable agreement with legal assistance from your respective collaborative attorney. You and your spouse each hire a separate attorney who advises and assists you in negotiating a settlement agreement – usually in one sitting in one day unless there are lots of property and custodial issues and little initial agreement. You meet separately with your own attorney and then the four of you meet together should it be necessary. A collaborative divorce may also involve other professionals, such as a child custody specialist, therapist, tax professional or an accountant. Normally, both spouses and their attorneys sign an agreement that requires the attorneys to withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and then the case goes to court. It is almost always better to reach a settlement outside of the courtroom where the judge, who doesn’t know you, or care about you (or you and your children) – and will then make decisions for you.

Comments are closed.

ONE OF THE NATION’S “BEST LAW FIRMS” U.S. WORLD REPORT AND BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA® Named one of the nation's Best Law Firms by US World Report and Best Lawyers in America Learn More

Sarah T. Schaffer In The News

Recent Media Events

Sarah T. Schaffer Recognized in San Diego Discover Magazines With over 220,000 attorneys in California, Schaffer is one of the few, numbering 178 within San Diego, to hold the distinction of Certified Family Law Specialist.

San Diego Magazine Women of the Year Awards Colonel Sarah T. Schaffer, USMC – Camp Pendleton recognized for her Military Service as JAG Officer.

Top 50 Influential Leaders in San Diego Sarah T. Schaffer is active in the San Diego County and North County bar associations and supports the programs of Kids’ Turn San Diego, a nonprofit that helps children through family separations, and Casa Cornelia Law Center, which provides pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations.

Dividing a Business - Discover Magazines Not all businesses have marital value, especially smaller businesses whose primary value is from the efforts of one spouse.

Sarah Schaffer on the cover of Discover Magazines
Read Sarah's Latest Article In Discover Magazines OVER 50 AND DIVORCING; Four Important Things To Keep In Mind
What Happened to My Inheritance? If you inherit money during marriage, would it be considered separate property? Learn More

Family law matters are never simple By your side every step of the way

Certified Family Law Specialist CFLS Sarah Schaffer and Leslie Ryland have been certified by the State Bar of California as “Certified Family Law Specialists,” a distinction earned by family law attorneys who have “gone beyond the standard licensing requirements.” Every attorney at Schaffer Family Law Group has either earned their CFLS Certification, or is actively working towards that professional goal as a requirement of the firm and our commitment to providing our clients the most skilled and proficient attorneys in San Diego County.

Take The First Step

What You Should Know

Top 10 Mistakes In A Divorce To avoid the top five mistakes in a divorce you must take a step back, remove the emotions and treat the process similar to a business transaction. Use these tips to help you expedite the process.

Divorce Over 50 How a 'gray divorce' will impact your retirement planning, including the timing of your retirement as well as the new economic reality divorce may bring to your life.

Top 4 Things To Know if Over 50 and Divorcing Getting a divorce after the age of 50 comes with its own set of challenges, both social and economic.

Professionals, Business Owners & Divorce Solving problems with the division of marital assets. The need for privacy and not leaving written records of your 'dirty laundry' for the world to see in the permanent public record and more...

Military Divorce Sarah serves as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. Military families find Sarah’s understanding of the military and issues servicemembers face enable her to provide superior counsel.

Where Should I Start?

Find answers to common questions about divorce and family law

Browse Our FAQ's

Why Choose Sarah's Team?

Experienced, aggressive, reliable family law attorneys in San Diego

What Sets SFLG Apart?

What Can I Do Today?

Schedule a strategy session with an attorney by phone, video chat, or in office

Contact Sarah Today
Our People Make The Difference

Our People Make The Difference!

Home Page Consultation

Schedule A Consultation

To schedule a consultation please use the form below or call our office between 9 am - 5 pm at (858) 509-7907.

We will not share your information with ANYONE. EVER. FOR ANY REASON.

Agreement with terms *

Schaffer Family Law Group, APC

Divorce Lawyers in San Diego Divorce Lawyers in San Marcos