Can a Couple Use the Same Lawyer for a Divorce in Arizona?
One of the questions Arizona divorce lawyers get all the time is whether they can represent both the husband and wife. It makes sense why somebody would ask this question. After all, if a couple doesn’t have children and can foresee an amicable divorce, why pay two attorneys? The truth is that attorneys cannot represent both spouses in a divorce. Even if one spouse offers to waive any conflict of interest, it’s not ethical. Besides, it’s really in your best interest to have your own attorney there to represent your interests.
Your Arizona Divorce Lawyer Must Avoid a Conflict of Interest
When attorneys go to law school, one of the most important things they learn about is ethics. All Arizona divorce lawyers understand that they can’t do anything that gives the appearance of impropriety. Therefore, they are careful before they accept any new case. They need to make sure they don’t have any relationships with either party that would it unethical to take the case. Allowing the same attorney to handle a divorce two both a husband and wife would be dangerous. How could one ensure that the attorney was doing right by both of their clients? It’s impossible to always work vigilantly on behalf of your client if you also represent the client’s adversary.
What if Your Spouse Can’t Afford an Attorney?
One complaint family law judges often hear is that one spouse could afford an attorney while the other cannot. There are a lot of situations where the parties have already separated, and one spouse does not have an income. The other spouse controls the finances which means the other spouse can’t afford to hire an Arizona divorce lawyer. It happens a lot more than you may think. Clearly, in a case like this, one spouse is at a serious disadvantage.
Most people think the answer is simple-Let the spouse hire an attorney and then ask the judge to order their spouse to pay their attorney fees. The problem is that no attorney is going to be able to work without a retainer. There’s always the chance that the judge will deny the request for attorney fees. At a certain point, the courts no longer allow an Arizona divorce lawyer to back out of a case. Rather than risk having this happen, most attorneys would decline to represent this sort of client. Yes, it seems a bit unfair, But the answer is not to let attorneys represent two people who have decided that they dislike everybody so much that they filed for divorce.
Can a Client Simply Waive the Conflict of Interest?
As mentioned above, a lot of clients think that their spouse can just waive any conflict of interest. There are situations I which two parties can sign off on having one lawyer represent them. But that doesn’t work when it comes to divorce. Even if they could do this, they would still have to bill both parties. Attorneys cannot afford to work for free. They don’t have the hope of a big settlement down the road.
Call and Speak with an Arizona Divorce Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you should talk to one of our experienced Arizona divorce lawyers. They have dealt with situations like this before. They’ll know just what to do and can answer any questions you may have. They cannot represent both you and your spouse, but they may be able to give your spouse a good referral. Just call our office and get you situated first and take things from there,