“We just want this to be as simple and amicable as possible.”
Low Conflict Divorce can happen with one or two lawyers assisting with the divorce.
Sometimes both spouses hire lawyers committed to simple, amicable resolution. Normally, the best process for these cases is Collaborative Divorce, but perhaps you live in a county that does not have access to trained Collaborative Divorce professionals, or prefer not to use the Collaborative process for other reasons.
We at Driftless Mediation and Family Law LLC will represent you and work with the other attorney to resolve your divorce outside of court. We can help you decide whether low-conflict divorce is a good option for you. If your case is one that is likely to need a judge’s help to resolve, though, we can help you find a good litigation attorney after our initial consultation.
“We know we should have a lawyer, but can’t we get by with only one?”
Yes and no. One lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce in Wisconsin. The ethics rules that lawyers follow require them to be loyal to one client. When people get divorced, they are on the opposite side of lawsuit. That’s just the way it is in our family law system.
Still, often only one spouse hires a lawyer, and that usually is better than having no lawyer at all. When only one attorney is hired, the lawyer’s job still is to give legal advice to her client only and to be the client’s advocate. The lawyer cannot give legal advice to the other spouse, and it is very important for the other spouse to understand that the lawyer is not neutral. But the client can share the lawyer’s advice with his or her spouse, and he or she can instruct the lawyer to discuss settlement options that are beneficial to both. Often this can lead to good results.
The advantages to at least one spouse having a lawyer are:
- A lawyer representing one spouse is able to write up all the paperwork for the divorce, including complete settlement agreements.
- A lawyer can help her client avoid pitfalls that many spouses fall into when making their own agreements, especially with respect to real estate or retirement assets. Both spouses often benefit down the line from having things done right at the time of divorce.
- Both spouses benefit from having an experienced guide see them through the divorce process, making sure all the proper paperwork is filed, assisting with the final hearing, and so on.
A person should never get a divorce without having a lawyer working for him or her review the settlement agreement. If only one spouse hires a lawyer, the one without an attorney is at a disadvantage because he or she does not have legal advice. Sometimes people are comfortable with the risk, though.
When both spouses are on relatively equal footing with each other, or if the more dependent or less dominant spouse is the one represented by the lawyer, and if both spouses are committed to a low-conflict divorce, it can work well to have one lawyer only. If the spouses are not on relatively equal footing or if the more dominant spouse has the attorney, there is a strong risk that the end results might not be as fair to the less dominant spouse.
If you are interested in low-conflict divorce services, please call (608) 963-4858 to set up a consultation.