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Can my soon to be ex husbands lawyer represent his new girlfriend in a custody matter?

Fenton, MI |

My divorce has just began in December it involves children so its a six month or longer divorce, my ex was staying on his best friends couch for one month and ran off with his best friends, girl. She left her 2 kids with her boyfriend (which was my exs best friend), now my ex n the girl have lived together for almost 2 months and my ex is paying his lawyer to represent her in custody to get her kids. Is this legal? My ex has his mailing address at his mothers house and his drivers license at our marital home but he lives with the girl in a different town.

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Attorney answers 4


It most likely is permissible for the lawyer to represent both your future ex-husband and his girlfriend in her issues. There is no conflict of interest. Even if there was a conflict of interest, they may waive that conflict. You may lack standing to raise such a conflict. However, I do not see the conflict. I believe what you are objecting to is the fact that the lawyer may be contributing to harming your marriage by encouraging your husband to "carry-on" with this girlfriend. However, that type of morality issue is not dealt with by the Code of Ethics.


Hi, It is messy but it is legal. The issue is that marital funds are being used for a purpose that is arguably inappropriate. You should talk to a lawyer about this.
Good luck to you.

Henry Gornbein


I do not believe there is any ethical conflict for an attorney to represent both your ex and his girlfriend. However, there would be a conflict if, for instance, your attorney were representing your ex's girlfriend. Furthermore, I would most likely hesitate to represent both your ex and his girlfriend out of concern that, depending on how the facts of the case develop, I might become a witness or have financial records subpoenaed. Some of my colleagues might disagree and think that is a far-fetched scenario, but I always prefer to err on the side of caution when accepting a client who is "related" to another client.

This comment is designed for general information only, and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


I agree with Mr. Gornbein that this sounds like a "questionable use of marital assets" issue that you should be telling your lawyer about. (You do have one, don't you? If not, get one.)
I also agree with Ms. Stuart-Fink that it is not a good idea for hubby's lawyer to represent the new love interest.
If you are not represented and have further questions, you can reach me at (810) 664-1388.

I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.