Do We Need Two Divorce Lawyers if We Agree on Everything?
Uncontested Divorce Mediation
Posted May 1, 2019
Not all divorces are bitter battles between two angry ex-spouses. In fact, many divorces are amicable, a parting of two ex-partners. Maybe you grew distant, maybe a tragedy separated you. Maybe there is pain in the past, but you still mostly share the same values when separating your households. Couples who agree on how to divorce are not uncommon, but it can sometimes be hard to know how to go forward from there.
Media guides separating spouses to hire two different divorce lawyers. And divorce lawyers encourage ex-partners to fight over financial details, home ownership, and custody. These billable hours draw out and conflicts come up where they don’t need to. And two lawyers are more costly than a simple divorce agreement should be.
So do you and your soon-to-be ex really need two conflicting divorce lawyers? There are two answers here, and both are important to know before you dive into the legal complexities of drafting and finalizing an amicable divorce.
It is Unethical to Share One Divorce Lawyer
The first rule is that one separating couple cannot share a divorce lawyer. This is due to the nature of divorce law. Each divorce lawyer is trained to defend the interests of the single person who hires them, and a divorce is often seen as an opposing lawsuit where two parties are both trying to get the better deal. It is, therefore, a divorce lawyer’s job to fight for the interests of the spouse who hired them. For the best financial deal, for the most custody time, for possession of certain shared property. It is in the nature of their training to value one divorcing spouse over another. And sometimes this dedication is needed in an adversarial or unbalanced divorce.
Along this vein, it is also unethical for a divorce lawyer to agree to work for two spouses at the same time, even if the spouses want to agree and evenly split everything. It is simply assumed (and reasonably reflected over centuries of law) that the lawyer will either fail to represent both sets of interests completely or will intentionally or unintentionally favor one spouse’s interests over the other. This is the same reason a real estate agent can’t work for both the buyer and seller. All reputable divorce lawyers won’t do it, and will suggest alternatives for any ex-couple that asks.
It is Unfair to Hire a Lawyer for Only One Spouse
Some spouses try a nonfunctional alternative is for one person in the separating couple to hire a lawyer while the other does not. For spouses that want to reduce their legal fees, hiring one lawyer can seem like a tempting option. However, in practice the deal is almost never fair for both spouses financially or in divorce terms. Having only one spouse hire a lawyer can technically result in the correct legal documents being drawn up with terms the couple agrees on. But it is unfair for the same reason that hiring one lawyer for two spouses is unethical.
The lawyer cannot reasonably represent the interests of both parties at once. Therefore, the spouse without a lawyer to represent them will almost inevitably get the short end of the stick in divorce terms. On the other side, the spouse who hires the lawyer may have to shoulder an unfairly high percentage of the divorce costs, as they are paying all of the legal fees rather than half.
Ultimately, hiring only one lawyer for one spouse is as poor an idea as trying to hire one lawyer for both spouses. Fortunately, you do have an alternative. It not actually necessary to hire two opposing lawyers to achieve a simple uncontested divorce.
Divorce Mediation as the Practical Alternative
If you and your spouse have already agreed on most of the practical terms and just want to refine all the legal details, Chicago divorce mediation is the most practical answer. You need a legal professional to help you cover your bases and then write up divorce documents that will be accepted by the court. But you don’t need two opposing lawyers to achieve this. Especially if you have already agreed to work with your ex in separating cleanly.
A divorce mediator can provide all the necessary legal services while also assisting you in finalizing our divorce terms in the most satisfactory way possible. This works well both for couples who know exactly what they want and those who just want a pleasant outcome but don’t yet know the details. A mediator will ensure that your divorce can be agreeable and fair for both separating spouses, providing advice and guidance to reach the best future results.
One Mediator for an Uncontested Divorce
Chicago divorce mediation servers two very important purposes for modern Illinois residents. First, it provides a method to bring conflicting couples together, helping them to reach agreements so that divorce can be achieved. But it also upholds the proud tradition of an amicable uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces grew from the old tradition of needing a reason to divorce. Once, a couple would have had to prove that cheating, abuse, or failure of duties was responsible for the failure of a relationship. These days, it’s recognized that marriages sometimes end for other reasons that don’t require blame.
If you and your spouse are separating and feel no need to fight while doing so, divorce mediation is more like a stepping-stone to the outcome you want without the risk of new conflicts introduced by divorce lawyer priorities. If you have no need to fight over terms, a divorce mediator can guide you through writing up equally agreeable terms and finalizing your divorce without any conflict at all.
Divorce Mediation is a Smooth Route to Amicable Divorce
For any couple looking to separate peacefully with terms they’ve agreed on or guidance to the best and fairest terms, Chicago divorce mediation is the ideal solution. Rather than being encouraged to compete over better financial, property, or custody terms, a divorce mediator will help you to find a solution that makes both parties happiest in the short and long term. Rather than paying two different divorce lawyers to oppose each other, a divorce mediator is a single professional who can offer a friendly and efficient legal service.
Often times, even when a divorce begins as amicable, heated discussions between spouses and small fights over splitting assets can cause a wedge which turns a smooth divorce into a battle. Our Chicago divorce mediatorscan help keep the peace between spouses throughout the divorce process, from start to finish.
Is divorce mediation the right answer for you and your spouse to reach an uncontested divorce in Chicago? Contact Split Simple today for a consultation to find out!
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