22 Jul Sharing a Divorce Attorney with Your Spouse
When you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, there are many considerations that must be dealt with when going forward with the dissolution of marriage. Though you and your spouse may be amicably separating, this does not mean that you both can share the same attorney. Though divorce may be a costly measure, the longer the couple has been together, the amount of shared assets between them, any income disparity between them, and the number of children involved will make the divorce more difficult than just writing out a list and assuming your interests will be protected. However, the divorce can be made simpler when no children are involved. and the number of shared, marital assets is limited.
The Conflict of Interest Argument
It is a conflict of interest in South Carolina for two divorcing people to share the same attorney. First and foremost, when two people have decided to divorce, they are considered opposing parties (regardless of the lack of acrimony between them). The reason is that at the end of the day, each party has an interest in the tangible and intangible assets of the shared property, whether it falls in line with their ex-spouse’s interests or not. Agreeing to every aspect of the settlement is lucky, if not rare, and ensuring that there is an advocate on both sides incentivizes not only compromises but more importantly, helps in the moments when compromise is hard to come by.
The Long-Term Costs Can Outweigh the Short-Term
Others assume that by hiring one attorney for the divorcing couple, the expenses will be less than if both sides were to hire an advocate. This is a shortsighted way of understanding the finances of divorce. There are short-term and long-term expenditures when it comes to divorce. The short-term may be how much money is spent on the attorney’s fees and the money necessary to implement the divorce. The long-term, however, includes the costs that are due as a result of the divorce later in life. These long-term costs could be alimony paid for years on end, child support, or the appreciating value of assets that were lost in the divorce. Having an advocate who looks out solely for your needs will keep the long-term expenses of the divorce low and ensure fair and reasonable terms for the settlement. If only one attorney is around, there is no way to ensure that he or she is looking out for your interests, as he/she may have a bias for some reason or another to look out for your ex’s interests more thoroughly than your own.
Is It Possible to Have an Easy and Less-Costly Divorce?
Ultimately, attorneys are held to a high standard of ethical responsibility and as such, when hired, focus solely on one party to the action. If cost and ease are a concern for both parties, it is still possible to limit the costly divorce fees by coming to an understanding with your ex with regards to custody, alimony, and property, and then hiring attorneys to draft this understanding into a legal, enforceable document. Or, sometimes one lawyer may be hired who functions as a neutral mediator who may help the couple put together a settlement agreement; this lawyer, however, will not provide legal advice and will be neutral to each side. This is not to say that changes won’t be made or issues won’t arise, but if many things are agreed to at the onset, the time and cost of working out the major issues will hopefully be limited.
Whether you need assistance in your divorce, or simply have questions about the process, don’t hesitate to contact the attorney at the Klok Law Firm LLC. We serve clients in the Mount Pleasant, Charleston area and are prepared to assist you today.