Can You Share a Divorce Attorney With Your Spouse in MN?
Going through a divorce can be a long, expensive, and arduous process, but it’s not always that way. In some situations, there may be agreement on all aspects of the divorce between the parties involved. That can make things a lot simpler, but many people wonder if they can make it even more simplified by using the same attorney as their spouse.
While it may seem like a clever way to save time and money, you and your spouse should not share an attorney in the divorce process. There are some good reasons why that you should educate yourself about – no matter amicable your divorce may be.
Do Divorcing Minnesotans Have to Get a Lawyer?
In Minnesota, neither party involved has to get a divorce attorney. If only one attorney is involved in the divorce process, they will represent only one party – not both – because representing both is considered a conflict of interest.
That means they are obligated to represent their client’s best interests – and that simply can’t be done simultaneously.
So, Can You Share a Divorce Attorney in MN?
As you may have guessed, the answer to the question as to whether or not you and your spouse can share an attorney is no. In Minnesota – and in many other states – one attorney cannot represent both parties in family court.
While it’s not uncommon to find a divorce where only one attorney is involved, that attorney will only represent one person in the divorce. You should never look to get legal advice or any type of guidance from your spouse’s divorce attorney.
Beyond a conflict of interest, there are several reasons why you cannot share an attorney in your divorce, most of which are reasons that only serve to protect your interests.
You cannot share because:
- In the eyes of the court, you and your spouse, no matter how amicable, are opposing parties in the proceedings, so one attorney cannot represent the both of you
- If there is a disagreement at some point in the process, a lawyer cannot fairly represent both parties and fairly represent the way your values or interests may differ from your spouse
- There may be other details you had not considered in the divorce that cause a disagreement between you and your spouse
- If an agreement gets reached, your attorney’s job is to advise you on whether to decline or accept it, which they cannot do if they represent both parties
The Exception of Mediation
One of the only acceptable ways to have one person represent both of your interests is if you enter into mediation. In that case, the attorney you hire as a mediator remains a neutral party that helps to facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse. You may still want to hire your own attorney to review any agreement you reach, however.
About the Author:
Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.