Can One Attorney Represent Both My Spouse and Me?
Protecting Your Legal Rights
During a divorce, one attorney is not permitted to represent both spouses. An attorney is bound to many ethical obligations designed to protect his or her clients, and serving as counsel for both parties in a divorce would be considered a clear conflict of interest, according to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
No matter how amicable or peaceful your divorce may be, you and your spouse are technically considered opposing parties in a civil legal proceeding. This means that your interests and those of your spouse may be in conflict throughout the process. The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct—among other ethical guidelines—specifies that an attorney cannot offer representation to a client if that representation “involves a concurrent conflict of interest.” In a divorce case, there is always a concurrent conflict, which means that a single attorney can never represent both parties.
Retaining Your Own Attorney
You may have heard of friends or relatives whose divorce was handled by one attorney or law firm. Such situations are often misleading, as the attorney or law firm only officially represented one party. The other party, most likely, went into the proceedings pro se—a Latin phrase that means representing one's self. It is extremely risky to navigate a divorce on your own, especially if your spouse has retained the services of an attorney.
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we believe that hiring an attorney is an essential part of the divorce process. You need an advocate on your side to ensure that your rights are fully protected along the way and to catch and correct potentially costly errors. You may think that you cannot afford a divorce attorney, but, at our law firm, we feel that you cannot afford to go without one.
For help with your divorce, contact the Wheaton office of MKFM Law. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule a confidential consultation today. We are proud to serve clients in and around DuPage County, Kane County, and Kendall County.