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Can one solicitor act for both parties in an amicable divorce?

Can one solicitor act for both parties in an amicable divorceIt is not unheard of for solicitors specialising in seeking an amicable divorce to be asked at the outset of a case, “Can you act for my husband and I?” or “My wife and I are separating can we book an appointment for us to come and see you.”

The short answer is that one solicitor representing two clients is not possible. Certainly if a case ever went to court the problems that such a situation would create are clear. How could one solicitor sit and cross examine each party and then sum up and ask a judge to make a finding in favour of each party?

Further there may always be doubt in the mind of one of the parties as to whether they were getting the right deal? How would they know unless they sought independent advice from another solicitor that the advice given or settlement put forward was fair? If they were to get an independent solicitor, they would then have two solicitors, something that was to be avoided in the first place.

Where parties agree with how they wish to separate, where the children will live and who is to receive what in terms of finances then it may seem, on the face of it, simple for one solicitor to represent both. Having one solicitor representing both parties’ interests may be something that evolves in the future but at present we do not have this system.

A dignified divorce is still possible with the current system. Just because each party has a different solicitor doesn’t mean that you will end up in court. Two solicitors need not mean an acrimonious divorce. You simply have to choose the right solicitor for you.

So what is a possible alternative?

The collaborative process permits advice to be given in a safe framework, in a series of four way meetings where each party has their own solicitor. All issues can be discussed and a settlement can be agreed and then recorded in an agreement before being submitted to a court for approval.

Such a process provides security to both parties as they each have their own solicitor present, preventing either party from those nagging doubts as to whether the agreement they have entered into is fair. This in itself promotes openness and reduces the stress and anxiety for each party allowing them to concentrate on their children, rehousing or business and moving on with their lives. No divorce settlement can be exactly what each party wants and some compromise is inevitable but isn’t agreement between the parties so much better than a court deciding who is to have what?

The collaborative process is based upon what is best for themselves and best for the group; isn’t that what you want to achieve by having one solicitor?

If you would like to talk to a solicitor who specialises in collaborative law and amicable divorces, call James today on 01664 498 999.

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