As family law attorneys, we are routinely asked if a divorce lawyer can represent both parties in a divorce action. The potential client explains that the parties agree on all issues and just need an attorney to draft the paperwork. This may seem like a simple request, but our answer is always, “No, we cannot represent both parties to a divorce action.”
The reason we cannot represent both parties in a divorce action is because we will have a conflict of interest. When a divorce is filed, the spouses become opposing parties and an attorney cannot advocate for both sides.
If we are hired by a client and the client provides information about the marriage, assets, debts, and even details about an agreement, that spouse becomes our client and we cannot represent an opposing party to our client. That being said, we can represent our client and draft settlement documents for review by the opposing party. However, if the opposing party has questions, we cannot offer any legal advice and must be clear that we represent our client and our client only.
In Tennessee, it is not required to have an attorney to get a divorce. You can represent yourself and that is call “pro se.” If one party is represented by an attorney, the other party may choose to represent his or her self. The attorney involved in a case where the other party is pro se has to be extremely careful in interactions with the pro se party to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
If you’d like to schedule a case assessment with Melanie Hogg or another Held Law Firm attorney, call 865-685-4780.