My Spouse and I Agree On Everything – Why Can’t We Hire One Attorney To Represent Us?

Oftentimes a spouse will call in stating that he/she wants a divorce and that both spouses have agreed on everything; all they need is someone to write it up so they could sign on the dotted line. The problem with this scenario, however, is that if the couple can agree on everything, they wouldn’t be divorcing, right?

The reality is that the divorce process can be very antagonistic, and although you may be on friendly terms with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the truth is that he/she is your adversary in these proceedings. He/she wants to get the better end of the stick, and wants you to get stuck with the uglier side. For these reasons, one attorney cannot represent both parties in court. Now, having said this, you and your spouse could certainly hire a collaborative law attorney to mediate issues. However, that attorney cannot represent either of you subsequently in court if the agreement falls apart.

What is common, however, is that the parties agree that one spouse will hire an attorney and the other will represent himself pro se. This way, one attorney drafts the documents and can streamline the divorce process in court. However, this attorney must advise the pro se party that he/she does not represent him/her and that the other party has the right to seek an attorney. That party could either negotiate the agreement without the assistance of counsel or could hire an attorney simply to review the documents and advise as to whether he/she should sign.

It is important to remember, however, that no matter what advise the other lawyer provides to try and get you to sign the agreement or to negotiate the terms of the agreement, that he/she represents your spouse, and not you; any proposal the lawyer provides is to further your spouse’s interest’s, and not yours.

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