If your spouse has already retained the services of a divorce attorney, you are going to need your own lawyer. While divorces certainly happen all the time with one or sometimes even no lawyers involved, that does not mean that it is necessarily in your best interest to go without one. If your spouse has already hired counsel, he or she could well be signaling that he or she fully intends to protect his or her visitation and child custody rights as well as property interests and intends to protect the rights and interests beyond any informal discussions between spouses.
Spouses Can Hire the Same Divorce Attorney
While it may not be common, sometimes both spouses can hire the same attorney to facilitate the filing of all the paperwork for the child support, divorce and conservatorship or custody. While this can indeed be a fair arrangement when both partners are in complete agreements of the property division and any child issues, as the attorney will not have any duty, or shouldn’t have any duty, to advise each party of their rights to the detriment of the other. The attorney is purely there to make sure that the process goes smoothly right through to completion. But this is very different to one spouse hiring an attorney on his or her own.
When A Spouse Hires Their Own Attorney
When one of the spouses hires their own divorce attorney separately, the attorney then only has a duty to that one spouse. The attorney does not have any duty whatsoever to the other spouse and may get to the point of needing to act to the detriment of the other spouse when it is necessary and to the benefit of the spouse whom the attorney is representing.
There are also instances when one spouse will hire an attorney and that attorney will informally act as though both of the spouses are their client in order to help them complete the divorce process. There is, however, a danger for the spouse who is not the attorney’s actual client and that is that the relationship between client and attorney is not the same. The spouse who is not formally the client does not have any right to confidentiality with the attorney nor can he or she be privy to what advice is being given to the spouse who is formally the client.
This means the non-client spouse is actually at a disadvantage whether or not he or she realizes it. The attorney could be advising the client who is then referring the advice to the non-client spouse as using it as advice for both spouses. Simply by assuming the advice is meant to treat both spouse fairly could put one of the spouses at a tremendous disadvantage.
Not Sure If You Need Your Own Lawyer?
If your spouse has hired a divorce attorney and you’re not sure whether you need your own, contact the offices of John C. Fitzpatrick to discuss your legal requirements and see what assistance would be best for your situation.