Why Can’t We Use The Same Divorce Lawyer? We Already Agree! Pt. 1

Railroad tracks splitting off
You may be parting ways amicably, but one attorney can’t drive both trains!

This is a question we run into a lot – clients who want to hire a divorce attorney to make sure that everything is handled properly during their divorce process, but don’t want to spent any unnecessary money. And it’s hard to blame them – divorce can be costly, and attorneys aren’t exactly cheap (especially the good ones!). You get what you pay for, right?

So if you and your spouse are getting divorced, and you’ve already agreed to work together to make this process as smooth as possible, then saving money by hiring one attorney to represent both of you can seem like a great idea.

But actually it’s a really bad idea!

Let us explain. We’ve told many couples over the years that we can’t represent them both, and all too often they tell us that’s just something attorneys say to make more money. As in: two paying clients is more lucrative than a couple paying together. But that doesn’t really make sense.

Why? Because as divorce attorneys we can’t represent both spouses in a divorce, whether they’re working together as a unit, or fighting each other every step of the way. So telling you that we can only represent one of you doesn’t put any extra cash in our pockets.

But why can you only represent one spouse instead of both?

It’s an issue of ethics. Technically, representing both spouses in a divorce isn’t against the law in Michigan, but no ethical attorney would ever consider it! The reason is because attorneys in Michigan are bound by the state’s Rules of Professional Conduct. And one of those rules is very clear about conflict of interest:

“A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless:

1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and

2) each client consents after consultation.

How is it a conflict of interest to represent both spouses?

Okay, think about it this way. When two people get divorced, they’re dividing up their lives and going their separate ways. Each one has to put their own interests before the other person’s in order to make sure that they’re protected and prepared for their future. And because they’re no longer a couple, they don’t have to consider what’s best for the other person.

So even for couples who are parting amicably, and who aren’t fighting, there are always issues that come up along the way. Little disagreements that complicate the process, or leave one person feeling like they got the short end of the stick. And this is where one attorney representing both would have to pick sides. And that isn’t the way it’s supposed to go! Remember that lawyers are also counselor, advocates and legal experts. And one lawyer cannot advocate for both spouses.

Do you need an experienced and ethical divorce lawyer here in Oakland County?

Divorce will be a really stressful and complicated time in life. The last thing you need is an inexperienced attorney (or worse, one with sketchy ethical practices) to screw this up for you! So call The Kronzek Firm right now at (248) 479-6200 and make sure your divorce is in the hands of a well respected and experienced family law attorney.

Make sure you join us next time to wrap up this discussion on the importance of each having your own attorney during divorce! The divorce attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience handling family law matters. We can help you now at our Farmington Hills office. Call to set an appointment.