I am often told by prospective clients that they are completely in agreement in relation to their divorce, their finances and their children and would like me to act for both of them. After all, their Conveyancer is acting for both of them to deal with selling their house, and they have seen the same Mediator, so why not save money and use the same Family Lawyer? But is this possible?
The answer is very definitely no! Firstly we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and their rules do not allow us to act for both sides in a family law dispute. Mainly this is due to potential conflicts of interest which could well arise if we were attempting to advise both sides.
In addition, although all family lawyers should be following the same statutes and case law in advising their clients as to a fair settlement, they should also be looking at the particular circumstances of their client, the needs of their clients and their children and what would be a fair settlement for them. This also means that we sometimes need to raise issues which would support a more favourable settlement for our clients and which the other party may prefer not to consider.
And finally, this allows each party to provide their advisor with details of their situation without feeling intimidated or constrained by the other person being present.