Friday, June 20, 2008

You Want To Save Money on a Divorce by Getting One Attorney?

Don't even think about it. You are not really saving a dime.

Getting one attorney does not mean that both you of have an attorney. Representing both sides of a divorce is clearly a conflict of interest. Only if the lawyer has both sides sign off on a waiver of the conflict do both sides have a lawyer.

This post follows up on a comment left here. Anonymous described his situation like this:

When doing your property settlement, make sure that you do not trust your ex-spouse's attorney or even county government on any single filing. Verify, verify, verify, verify, verify. My current situation is a case in point on this. As part of my property settlement, I was required to provide proof of ability to refinance. She was to quit claim the property to me. Anyway, I tried some months ago and was turned down on the only FHA program I could afford simply because the quit claim was "too fresh". I was told I had to wait six months.
I wish I could say that was a new story. Too often, I am cleaning up a mess caused by a client who thought they shared a lawyer with their now former spouse. Sometimes the client's desire to pinch pennies causes the mistake, and other times it is caused by a silence on the part of the attorney about his representation of the parties, and other times it has been the persuasiveness of the now former spouse, and often enough it is some combination of the all these.

Now that you know that you should not have one attorney and probably cannot have one attorney, do not be persuaded to do anything else but getting your own attorney.

What if you have? I assume for the next two paragraphs that the divorce is uncontested, that there is an agreement that ends the marriage. If you are not divorced, then get a lawyer to review the agreement for you. Quit being scared of attorney fees. Call some family lawyers in your area or drop me a line, and ask about the fee for reading the property settlement agreement.

If you are divorced, you better expect trouble like that suffered by Anonymous. Be prepared is the Boy Scout motto and it will work for you here. I say, again, get a lawyer to read it over and see what problems there are for you. It may be that the agreement may be set aside or it may not.


Anonymous said...

not to mention the fact that a lawyer who would agree to represent both sides in a divorce is a BAD attorney - run away!

Sam Hasler said...

I thought I had made that point clear: unethical = bad. Reading anonymous' comment above, I got to thinking it also shows a lawyer who is bad as in stupid.