It is not uncommon for Arizona spouses to seek a more collaborative, less contentious end to their marriage. To reach that goal, some will consider using the same divorce attorney to represent each spouse during the process. While the motivation behind this decision is understandable, there are multiple problems with taking such an approach.
For one thing, there is an inherent conflict of interest at play when one divorce attorney seeks to serve clients on opposite sides of the table. Part of the value of working with a trusted divorce attorney is the advice and guidance that is provided to the client. This advice is customized to each spouse's unique set of needs and goals. When there are two clients receiving advice from the same attorney, it becomes impossible to adequately look after the interests of either client.
Having individual attorneys does not mean that the divorce cannot move forward in a collaborative manner. It simply means that each party will have a skilled advisor who can assess the client's divorce options and recommend the best course of action. For example, not all assets share the same ultimate value once taxes, fees and the cost of sale or transfer are taken into consideration. That means that some assets are more attractive to certain spouses than others. Negotiating the division of such assets is different for each couple and should be guided by a legal professional who has the best interests of his or her client at the forefront.
Arizona spouses who want to work together to resolve their divorce are starting from a very good position, and they have a great chance of moving through the divorce process with less stress and contention than those who take a more traditional position of litigation. Even so, having individual legal counsel is important. The outcome of a divorce will have lasting effects for both parties, and a settlement should reflect the individual needs of both sides.
Source: CBS Boston, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Understanding Divorce", Dee Lee, Aug. 15, 2016