“My husband wants his lawyer to represent both of us to save on fees. Is this a good idea?”
It’s not a good idea for you and your spouse to try to retain the same lawyer. Due to the nature of family law (with respect to other areas of law), you and your spouse have different, competing issues that need to be addressed by separate counsel. Having one lawyer represent both parties in a matrimonial dispute is known as a “conflict of interest.”
A conflict of interest is one that might affect the lawyer’s loyalty to you as a present or potential client. This could include the financial interest of the lawyer or an associate, or duties to other clients, including the communication of information.
The reason for this rule is obvious. Your case may become prejudiced if your lawyer’s judgment and action on your behalf are compromised by outside influences. Remember that your lawyer is on your side; you don’t want him or her consorting with your rival.
Gary Stern has been practicing family law for over 12 years. He has offices in Toronto, Scarborough, and Whitby.