Can (and Should) Divorcing Spouses Use the Same Lawyer?

by | Jun 1, 2024 | Divorce

All aspects of the divorce process require informed decision-making. From the moment divorcing spouses decide to proceed to the moment a judge brings your marriage to an end, you must make smart decisions with your long-term best interests in mind.

What does this mean when it comes to hiring a divorce lawyer?

When it comes to hiring a divorce lawyer, you have three options: (i) you and your divorcing spouse can each hire your lawyer; (ii) you can use the same lawyer; or (iii) you can forego hiring a lawyer and pursue a “DIY” divorce. This latter option is rarely the best—as there are too many complex issues and too many important decisions to try to handle your divorce on your own.

But what about choosing between one lawyer or two? Can (and should) you and your spouse use the same lawyer for your divorce? Or is it in both of your best interests to seek independent legal representation?

When It Makes Sense to Hire One Lawyer for Your Divorcing Spouses

In some cases, using one lawyer for your divorce can make sense. If your divorce is relatively straightforward and you and your spouse are willing to work together to come to terms, you might not need to hire your lawyer.

Mediation is a good option in this scenario. At Weingart Family Law, we provide flat-fee mediation services for divorcing spouses who want to end their marriage as efficiently and amicably as possible. In these cases, attorney Adam Weingart serves as a mediator, providing neutral guidance without specifically advising (or advocating for the interests of) either party.

When you choose divorce mediation, you and your spouse will be responsible for providing all required documentation at the beginning of the process. Attorney Adam Weingart will then review this documentation before your scheduled mediation session. During your mediation session, Adam will work with you and your spouse to help you reach an agreement regarding:

  • Property distribution
  • Debt division
  • Child custody (parenting time)
  • Child support
  • Alimony

If you and your divorcing spouse can come to terms with all of these issues (with Adam’s help), Adam will then prepare the paperwork needed to finalize your divorce. However, if you and your spouse cannot come to terms, you will each need to hire your lawyer—and Adam will not be able to represent either of you in your subsequent divorce proceedings. At that stage, doing so would entail a conflict of interest, so Adam must withdraw his representation of both parties.

Benefits of Hiring Your Divorce Lawyer to Represent You

The primary benefit of hiring one lawyer to help you finalize the terms of your divorce is that it reduces the costs involved. This is important, so what are the benefits of hiring your divorce lawyer to represent you?

Hiring your divorce lawyer can offer several benefits compared to mediating with a single lawyer (or trying to handle your divorce independently). For example:

Your Lawyer Will Hold All Information You Share in Strict Confidence

When you and your spouse work with the same lawyer during the divorce, your lawyer will be limited in the confidentiality he or she can maintain. However, when you hire your lawyer, this is not the case. On the contrary, your lawyer will have a legal duty to protect your confidences strictly. This means that you can comfortably discuss any and all questions and concerns with your lawyer and thoroughly explore your options before deciding how best to move forward.

Your Lawyer Will Be Able to Provide Personalized Legal Advice

When you and your spouse hire a lawyer to mediate your divorce, your lawyer’s role is to facilitate an amicable resolution. In this scenario, your lawyer must equally serve both parties’ best interests—which makes sense in some circumstances.

But, if you want personalized legal advice focused solely on your best interests, you will need to hire your own lawyer. When you hire your lawyer, your lawyer can focus exclusively on developing a strategy that is best for you—whether targeting an amicable resolution or seeking to get the most out of your divorce. For many people, the ability to obtain personalized legal advice alone is enough to warrant seeking independent legal representation.

Your Lawyer Will Be Able to Represent You Throughout the Entire Divorce Process

As we mentioned above, if you hire a lawyer to provide divorce mediation services and can’t reach an amicable resolution through the mediation process, you and your spouse will need to hire your lawyer to guide you the rest of the way. However, if you hire your lawyer from the outset, your lawyer will be able to represent you throughout your entire divorce. Not only does this provide consistency, but it can ultimately prove most cost-effective. Again, the key is making an informed decision based on your unique circumstances.

Which Option Should You Choose?

With these considerations in mind, which option should you choose? This is an important question that doesn’t necessarily have a straightforward answer. We invite you to schedule a consultation if you want to know more about your options. We are more than happy to help you make an informed decision, and if you are ready to move forward, we can assist you in any way you choose.

Questions About Getting Divorced in Arizona? Schedule a Consultation Today

Do you have questions about getting divorced in Arizona? If so, we invite you to get in touch. We can help you carefully evaluate your options and make informed decisions about your next steps. To schedule a confidential initial consultation with Phoenix divorce attorney Adam Weingart, please call 480-608-9098 or tell us how we can help online today.