While using a single attorney to mediate a settlement agreement in a divorce can certainly minimize expenses, it has the potential to create problems. First, if you and your husband are unable to come to agreement, the attorney cannot ethically continue to represent either of you, and both of you will need to retain new counsel.
With separate counsel for each party, each spouse has an advocate whose duty it is to attempt to negotiate a property settlement and custody/visitation agreement that is fair to his or her client. Additionally, if the parties simply cannot agree, the attorney becomes the client's representative in court proceedings.
While it is not impossible for one attorney to ethically and equitably represent both parties in a dissolution, I personally believe that if there inequality in the parties' bargaining positions or financial situation, having separate attorneys to advocate for the best possible outcome is the best choice.
The above information is shared for educational and discussion purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is intended or established through your reliance on the information provided. If your legal rights could be impacted by using this information, you are urged to seek legal counsel before taking action.
One attorney cannot adequately represent the interests of both parties - if there is a disagreement - on whose side will the attorney be? Sometimes actions that look like they might save money end up costing you more. Furthermore, whoever first contacts the attorney establishes a psychological lead in the case - the attorney is sometimes more likely to respond to the person who first contact them, and if your husband takes the lead, you may find yourself giving in to his position. Do yourself a favor - get your own attorney. If you both have settled the issues, at least you will know that you had someone who advised you as to what is in your best interest.
This response is informational in nature and not designed to create an attorney/client relationship.
A single attorney cannot represent both parties. He can mediate, but he doesn't represent either party. Each party not having their own lawyer is a bad idea unless everything is already agreed upon and you hire one lawyer to put it into writing. If you want to mediate, get a mediator, but each party should still have a lawyer.
I respectfully disagree with the prior attorneys. If the parties are able to communicate with one another & if they are able to put the children's interest above their own, one attorney can HANDLE a Dissolution or a Non-Contested Divorce procedure. He cannot represent BOTH parties, only one. The unrepresented party may have the proposed settlement/separation agreement reviewed by their own independent counsel prior to the final hearing. It has been my experience that only approximately 5% of applicants can successfully navigate a Dissolution, since they must agree upon ALL issues or the procedure fails & their case either is dismissed or must be converted to a divorce procedure. However, the majority of divorces are Non-Contested ones, & one attorney may handle such a case quite well IF both parties are cooperative & fair. This reduces the expense considerably. I'm not a proponent of mediation, except court sponsored, nor Collaborative Divorce.
The party hiring the attorney must have trust & respect for the attorney to act in their best interest & that of the children. The unrepresented party must have some trust in their spouse, verified by independent counsel if they feel it necessary. Most cases I handle do not feel the need for verification, as they are kept informed throughout by their spouse regarding all terms. I might also add that most of my Non-Contested Divorce "client's" are the wives. A consultation with an attorney is essential to determine which procedure is best for you. Multiple consultations may be necessary before you find a attorney you are comfortable with.
Ohio has three procedures for terminating a marriage. Check out my legal guides here on Avvo for a description of each one & the divorce procedures. Just click on my name, scroll down to "Legal Guides", & choose the ones regarding divorce, dissolution, & what you need to know.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.