A lawyer related to another lawyer such as parent, child, sibling, or spouse will not represent a client in a representation directly adverse to a person that the lawyer knows is represented by the other lawyer, except with the client's consent after consulting with respect to the relationship. A lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce case, or even in an uncontested divorce case in which both parties agree on the terms of a settlement agreement. Now let's say they could hire the same lawyer so they could get a divorce quickly and cheaply. A lawyer representing the Spouse would almost certainly tell you that there are very few limited circumstances in which a judge would award permanent alimony after one year of marriage.
This legal advice would be great for the husband. However, the lawyer in this scenario also represents the wife. The lawyer's opinion on alimony would be terrible for her, because now the husband would probably refuse to pay alimony for the rest of his life. In this scenario, the lawyer did the wife a disservice by offering the husband valuable legal advice.
This is a clear conflict of interest and demonstrates why an attorney cannot represent both parties in a divorce case. Since the focus of discovery is legitimate seeking information rather than strategic confrontation, lawyers should not train deponents by objecting, commenting, or acting in any way that suggests a particular answer to a question. Nor should lawyers object for the purpose of disturbing or distracting the interrogator or witness. Objections should only be made in the manner and for the reasons provided for by applicable court rules.
Attorneys should not intentionally misstate facts, prior statements, or testimony. This behavior increases animosity without a legitimate purpose. Lawyers would not be human without personal beliefs on issues affecting family law practice. No lawyer should be expected to ignore firmly held beliefs.
But the marriage lawyer can only limit the objectives of representation if the client consents after the consultation, 34 The client even has the right to be consulted on the means by which the objectives are pursued, matters usually at the discretion of the lawyer, 35 Therefore, the lawyer must withdraw from the representation if personal, moral, or religious beliefs are likely to cause the lawyer to take action that is not in the best interest of the client. If there is any doubt about the possible effect of such beliefs on representation, the client should be consulted and consent obtained. Where the rate agreement is based on an hourly rate or similar agreement, this information is part of the necessary communications related to the case addressed in Objective 2.3 and the Commentary. The statement must be detailed enough to inform the customer of the basis of the charges incurred.
The lawyer should consider whether the client's position on children's issues is affirmed in good faith. Otherwise, the lawyer must inform the client of the detrimental consequences of a merit claim for the client, the child, and the client's spouse. If the client persists in seeking advice to build a false case or to use a paternity claim as a bargaining chip or a means of inflicting revenge (see Objective 6.2 and Commentary), the lawyer should withdraw. Lawyers Can Represent Family Members.
But is it recommended? Not always. Attorneys have a duty to provide objective and impartial representation. However, emotional conflicts can interfere with the proper performance of this duty when family members are involved in the case. Family lawyers must recognize the effect that their words and actions have on their clients' attitudes, on the justice system in general and on the conduct and outcome of the client's case.
The family lawyer performs a role similar to that of a doctor who diagnoses the causes of the patient's pain and advises the patient on a variety of treatments before starting treatment. Family lawyers must recognize the effect that their words and actions have on their clients' attitudes about the justice system, not just the “legal outcome” of their cases. Therefore, the Goals set forth here for family lawyers generally use the terms “should” and “should not”, rather than “should”, “should not” and “should not”. The fee agreement should set out the circumstances in which the family lawyer will be allowed to withdraw for non-payment.
The attorney for the represented party has a duty to disclose all “material facts” known to the lawyer that will allow the court to make an informed decision, regardless of whether the facts are adverse or not. The client insists that the real problem in the marriage is a third person and asks the family lawyer to bring that issue to the attention of the court during the trial. These Goals, therefore, are aimed primarily at those areas in between, where even experienced and knowledgeable family lawyers might have concerns, and are an effort to provide clear and specific guidelines in the areas most important to family lawyers. That's why a lawyer should always think carefully before accepting any case involving a family member.
The main tasks of the family lawyer include helping the client develop realistic goals and trying to achieve them with the least possible harm to the family. It is important that the family lawyer accurately and thoroughly advise the client and, if necessary, provide him with a negative evaluation of the case. The combative, impolite, abrasive and “harsh” conduct of family lawyers is incompatible both with their obligation to effectively represent their clients and with their role as problem solvers. All lawyers should consider potential emotional conflicts before committing to represent and when representing anyone with whom they have family or emotional ties.
The lawyer should recommend consulting a professional in another field when it is something that a reasonably competent lawyer would recommend. It is difficult for family lawyers to represent the interests of their clients without addressing the interests of other family members. . .