Some divorces are uncontested, perhaps even amicable. In the interest of saving money, can a divorcing couple in Florida that agrees on all settlement agreement terms use one attorney to represent them both?
Conflict of Interest
For some very good reasons, the answer is no. A couple cannot share a divorce attorney in Florida. There would be an immediate conflict of interest for the attorney. The fact is, even if the couple is mostly in agreement regarding the situation, the husband and wife have different interests, and one attorney cannot serve them both. For example, an inheritance received by one spouse during the marriage would be legally deemed his or her sole property. However, if the couple agrees to split assets equally, one party will lose half of what is rightfully his or hers. Even in an amicable situation, their interests may conflict.
One attorney would be unable to represent both sides of the conflict. Florida law can be complex when it involves child custody, child support, and division of assets, which is why, if there are children or assets involved, it is highly recommended that each divorcing party is represented by his or her qualified legal representative.
In the State of Florida, a couple can get a divorce without an attorney. The necessary forms can be found online or can be requested from the Clerk of the Court. This is only recommended if the couple has no children or assets and debts to consider.
One Attorney to Represent One Party
These are, of course, legal forms to be filed, and these may be somewhat complicated. In the event the couple requires help filling in all information, one of them can hire an attorney to prepare or review all forms and then file them with the court. However, it must be with the clear understanding that said attorney represents only one of the parties – the one who hired him or her. The other spouse is representing himself or, in legal terms, acting pro se.
There is no conflict of interest as long as the attorney only represents one spouse. The other spouse can always have the forms reviewed by his or her own legal representative.
It can be more cost-effective for both parties to hire their own attorneys for the sole purpose of helping with the necessary forms.
Saving money by sharing a divorce attorney may sound tempting. Ultimately, however, one risks losing money by being unaware of certain legal details. Hiring one’s own divorce attorney can ultimately be the less expensive unpleasant choice.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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