Can One Lawyer Represent Both Parties in a Divorce in Texas?

Can One Lawyer Represent Both Parties in a Divorce in Texas?

May 4, 2021

If your divorce is generally amicable, you might wonder whether you both need to hire a divorce lawyer in Lubbock, TX. Why would you want to hire two attorneys when you already agree on everything? It would be nice if you could save some cash—but unfortunately, that creates a conflict of interest. Read on to find out more about your options when hiring more than one attorney seems like overkill.

Conflict of interest

Despite all the lawyer jokes you’ve heard, lawyers are bound to act by a strict code of ethics. If they do not, they risk being disbarred. Disbarment can prevent them from practicing law in their state, and they may not be able to practice in other states, either.

Representing two opposing parties—even if you’re in agreement—is a legal conflict of interest. Your attorney is bound by the code of ethics to act in their clients’ best interest. Even in a friendly divorce, it’s still an adversarial proceeding. What’s best for one client will often not be best for the opposing party. Therefore, if an attorney offers to represent both of you, steer clear—they’re already breaking one of the most basic rules of their profession.

As an example, imagine that one spouse comes to the attorney and tells them that they have a secret bank account for emergencies, which they’ve been funding with separate income for the last 20 years. Obviously, the other spouse would want to verify whether that money is actually separate or marital income—if it’s marital, they’re entitled to a share. The attorney couldn’t possibly represent both parties’ best interests here.

When you’re in agreement

You do have some other options. If the two of you agree on everything already, you can file for an agreed-upon or uncontested divorce. Only one party needs to hire an attorney. The other party can forgo their own attorney, review the papers and sign them. This keeps costs down while ensuring that a lawyer does the paperwork properly.

Other options

If one party has retained an attorney, you might call other attorneys to find out if one will review your paperwork for you. This is a smart way to save money. Many lawyers will examine the paperwork for a lower fee than if you were to retain them throughout the case. They can point out any glaring red flags or issues, then you can make the decision as to whether you’d like to sign off on the paperwork. At that point, you might decide that retaining an attorney is in your best interests now.

When you need help deciding between options, it’s worth calling divorce lawyers in Lubbock, TX. Many offer initial consultations where they’ll review your case information and suggest the best way to proceed. Calling the Law Office of Rob Biggers is a great way to learn more about your options. Reach out to us today to set up an appointment. We look forward to discussing the specifics of your case and fighting for the best possible outcome.

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