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Can My Spouse and I Use One Lawyer for Our Divorce?

A common question that people ask when dealing with a divorce is whether they and their spouse can use one lawyer for their divorce. The simple answer is no, you and your spouse cannot use one lawyer for your divorce.

Lawyers in Nebraska must abide by the Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct. Under these rules, it is unethical for a lawyer to represent a client that has opposing interests to a current client. Representing a client with an opposing interest can make the current client feel betrayed or that the lawyer will not act in their best interests. It also impairs the lawyer’s ability to advocate for their client.

Even if you and your spouse agree and give consent for a lawyer to represent you and your spouse, it is still prohibited by the Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct and can create problems for family law attorneys. No lawyer can represent opposing parties in the same litigation, regardless of the client’s consent.

Instead, both parties should retain separate lawyers to represent their differing interests in a divorce. This allows both you and your spouse to have your individual interests best represented and it avoids any conflict that may occur. If you have already agreed upon terms of the divorce, it is still possible for you to waive having a lawyer and have your spouse’s attorney draft the required paperwork, but a divorce  case is a legal matter with nuances and subtleties that are not apparent to a lay person so legal representation is preferable.

A collaborative divorce is an alternative option to a traditional divorce proceeding. A collaborative divorce is where you and your spouse negotiate a divorce agreement alongside different professionals in a cooperative manner. However, even with this alternative, both parties must hire an attorney to represent them and make them aware of their rights. Hiring outside professionals to assist in this process can be expensive. Also, if the negotiations fail and cannot continue, both parties will then have to hire new lawyers to represent them in a traditional divorce proceeding since the attorneys will be conflicted out of their representation.

If you are considering a divorce, have any questions about divorce, or just want to speak with the family attorneys at Berkshire & Burmeister, please give us a call or contact us today!

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