Hello and welcome to our show 60 Seconds with Sergio. I am your host, Sergio Cabanas, Attorney-at-Law here in Florida. Thank you for joining me today.
Today’s question is: Sergio, my spouse and I have agreed on getting a divorce. and we’ve even gone as far as reaching a settlement on all of the issues. How can we finalize this divorce process as quickly and at the lowest cost possible?
How can we finalize this divorce process as quickly and at the lowest cost possible? Can we hire the same lawyer to help us finalize the entire divorce for both of us? First let me commend you on reaching two major milestones regarding this process. First, you and your spouse have agreed in general to move forward with a divorce. Secondly, you all have even gone as far as reaching some kind of a general agreement on how to move forward with the divorce. This will not only save you time and money, but more importantly, it’s gonna save you both from the ongoing stress, the emotional roller coaster that comes with the divorce process.
Especially when there are children involved .So now, let’s get back to the question .Can one lawyer represent both spouses?
Well, there’s bad news and good news .First, the bad news. The bad news is that one lawyer cannot legally represent both spouses. Remember, both you and your spouse are still technically opposing parties in a legal process. Despite the fact that you believe you have a full settlement. First, you may believe you have a full settlement, and maybe you do, in theory. But as we get into the details that are needed for the judge to approve the divorce process, we may find areas of disagreement. Secondly, it’s an ethical violation and a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent both spouses, no matter how amicable you believe your divorce may be .By law, attorneys are simply not allowed to take on clients that have a conflict of interests. Ok. So, now for the good news. You still have two other options that you may think about in order to achieve the goal of having only one attorney on the case. The first option is hiring an attorney as a mediator. To assist with finalizing a divorce through a mediation process. Let’s be clear on what a mediation is .A mediation is a process where the parties meet with a mutually selected impartial, neutral person, in this case that one attorney, who will assist you with finalizing the agreement.
Now, just keep in mind that this mediator can not and should not give any legal advice to either party during the mediation process. Also, keep in mind that that attorney cannot act as a mediator if he or she has been hired to represent one of the involved parties prior to the mediation. I go into more details on the job of a mediator in a different video. The second option is for one of the spouses to hire the divorce lawyer while the other party is not represented by counsel. This may work when the spouses have reached an agreement on all of the issues. In this case, the one lawyer can draft all of the documents needed to finalize the divorce. Of course, with this option, just keep in mind that that means that the attorney can only represent and give legal advice to the party that hired that attorney. While the other party is not represented by counsel. It may be very tempting to just hire one lawyer to get the job done. And even more tempting to save on legal fees by having your spouse hire the attorney for the divorce, since you only need the attorney for the formalities. However, this poses a great risk for you. It can be very easy to hide the details in the fine print. And this may come back to haunt you .As they say: It’s better to be safe than sorry. And in this case, hiring your own attorney is the better option to make sure that your best interests are handled properly. And this could be done by having someone who knows the law work exclusively for you. I hope this short video provided you with some guidance about the divorce process where the parties have reached an agreement and are thinking about hiring one lawyer to handle their divorce. Thank you again for joining me today. And as always, stay informed so you can stay strong.