When getting a divorce, some couples want to use the same divorce lawyer. In North Carolina, lawyers cannot ethically represent both spouses.
Why Can’t a Divorce Lawyer Represent Both Spouses?
Using the same lawyer during your divorce may seem like a great idea. You could save money on legal fees and time on communicating back and forth. Since money and time are often both at a premium for divorcing couples, it may feel like a necessity to get only one lawyer. Moreover, if you are going through an amicable or friendly divorce, it simply may not seem important to get separate lawyers.
However, spouses in North Carolina each need separate lawyers to handle their divorce. A single lawyer handling a divorce for both spouses creates a conflict of interest for the lawyer. The lawyer cannot advise one spouse about their interests without creating a conflict, because the two spouses’ concerns during the divorce are incompatible.
Even if a divorce is completely amicable, a situation could arise when the spouses’ interests are at odds. Also, seemingly amicable divorces may not remain that way from start to finish. This could place one of a lawyer’s clients in an adversarial position against the lawyer’s other client. Such a position is a conflict of interest for the lawyer.
In sum, because of the ethical issue with representing two spouses in a divorce, North Carolina lawyers cannot represent both. They must follow conflict of interest rules as set forth by the North Carolina State Bar, which are intended to protect all clients’ interests.
Why Is It A Good Idea to Have a North Carolina Divorce Lawyer?
Aside from ethical concerns, it is a very good idea to have your own divorce lawyer separate from your spouse’s. A divorce can be a stressful and even contentious process. During a divorce, you need someone on your side who can help you evaluate your legal options. Even if you find yourself in an emotional situation, your lawyer can present the different sides of an issue and advise you on how to move forward.
In addition, divorce law can be complicated and confusing. You will want to find a legal professional experienced in local divorce law. He or she can assist you in navigating the court system and make sure you follow all required procedures.
Unfortunately, spouses who try to divorce without the help of a family law lawyer may find it to be a struggle. If their spouse has a lawyer, they may feel outgunned or lost on how to protect their own interests against their spouse. Spouses who both do not have a lawyer may have difficulty too. One spouse may try to manipulate or take advantage of the other spouse, withhold financial information, documents may be invalid, and/or proper legal procedure may not be followed. It’s better to find competent legal representation when dealing with something as difficult as a divorce.
In North Carolina, divorcing spouses have options beyond going to court that they may want to explore with a lawyer’s help. For example, collaborative divorce is becoming more common. In collaborative divorce, the spouses and their lawyers sit down together to collaboratively decide issues surrounding the divorce. These issues could include property division, support, and more. Other options for spouses include mediation and arbitration of their divorce instead of going before a judge. Look for a North Carolina divorce lawyer who can explain more about these options as you move forward with divorce.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you are considering ending your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.