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Can We Use the Same Divorce Attorney?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

While divorce often is a difficult time of transition, there are some instances in which both sides quickly agree to part peacefully. Due to financial reasons, they might look for ways to cut costs, and we're often asked whether both parties may share the same Coral Springs divorce lawyer in a dissolution of marriage case.

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No matter how peaceful a divorce may be, the parties are still considered to be adversarial from a legal standpoint; therefore, they should not share a lawyer. In fact, most states prohibit divorce attorneys from representing both sides as the two sides have conflicting interests. Nevertheless, there is one exception in which a divorcing couple may eliminate the need to work with separate attorneys: Mediation.

How mediation works

Divorcing couples who choose mediation may do so with a neutral attorney. Mediation is a more favorable option for parties who do not require much help from a third party to resolve their issues. Saving time and cost while avoiding a lengthy trial are among the major benefits of choosing to go to mediation. The neutral attorney-mediator can provide some potential benefits to the parties, including's role is limited to:

  • helping both parties understand the law
  • assisting with filling out forms and exchanging financial disclosures
  • helping divorcing spouses identify the main points of contention
  • helping the parties reach a mutual agreement
  • drafting divorce settlement agreements

Attorney-mediators cannot be forced to testify about discussions that take place during the mediation process as everything discussed is confidential. Because mediators are neutral, they are unable to take sides or provide legal advice.

Mediation and children

Another advantage to choosing mediation is the positive effect the process has on children. Because mediation is typically less stressful than going to trial, children are able to see their parents work together. Peaceful cooperation increases the likelihood of parents receiving joint custody, which allows both parents to have a greater presence in their children's lives. Parents are also usually able to maintain more control over deciding their children's interests in the mediation process versus litigation.

Reasons to hire an attorney

There are a multitude of advantages to hiring a Coral Springs divorce lawyer, even if it seems that both spouses are in agreement on all issues. Retaining a private attorney allows the client to ask legal questions, receive the benefit of professional advice, and hear another perspective that may lead to the client receiving a more favorable outcome. Discussions with a private attorney are also confidential; therefore, if a party wishes to discuss issues in the absence of his or her spouse, he or she may do so without fear that the information will be introduced in court. Furthermore, having a personal attorney look over the settlement agreement draft can help ensure that the client is better protected than simply signing the agreement without legal counsel.

When to choose mediation

Mediation should generally be considered if both parties have a mutual respect for each other. People who are considering mediation should realize that there are some cases and some people who are simply not well suited for mediation. There are also certain issues like child custody, distribution of finances, and pensions that may become contentious as the two parties meet to discuss them. Mediation should never be considered in cases that involve a history of domestic violence.

If you are considering mediation in Broward County, Florida, call a Coral Springs or Parkland divorce attorney to determine whether mediation is an option in your case.

Updated: January 20th, 2016

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