Why a Couple Cannot Share an Attorney in a North Carolina Divorce

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Jan 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

In a North Carolina divorce, couples sometimes consider using just one attorney to prepare the paperwork, especially when they agree on most issues. Divorce is expensive for both parties, and the couple may believe that sharing an attorney will reduce costs. However, legally, you and your spouse are opposing parties in the divorce and so this creates a conflict of interest for the attorney. No matter how amicable your divorce is, representing both parties creates an ethical dilemma.

Representing Your Best Interests

Your North Carolina divorce attorney's job is to represent your best interests. While your divorce may start amicably, conflict can erupt as you start negotiating -- with your spouse -- volatile issues, like child custodychild supportproperty division, and alimony. Your attorney will fight for what is most important to you.

Divorce is an emotional legal issue, and navigating the court system can be confusing. Providing complete, well-written paperwork to the court is crucial so that the judge can equitably divide the couple's assets. If you try to prepare the paperwork yourself, inadvertent omissions may lead your spouse or the judge to believe that you are trying to conceal information. Although many judges are patient with people representing themselves in a divorce, this patience has limits.

A divorce attorney can present you with legal options you may not have known about and will present the strongest case to the judge on your behalf. Hiring a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina is the best way to protect your legal rights in your divorce.


Mediation is a cost-effective way to work out the details of your divorce without facing a judge in the courtroom. However, mediation is not a substitute for hiring your own qualified divorce attorney to protect your best interests.

In mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third party to reach an agreement. This gives the divorcing couple the chance to collaborate on a parenting plan and the equitable distribution of their assets. The mediator helps both parties communicate what they want, and your lawyer is present to protect your legal rights.

After you and your spouse have both spoken and presented supporting documents, the mediator will recap the discussion, noting the issues where the couple agrees and/or disagrees. This confirms that the mediator has listened to you and understands your needs.

Mediation has several benefits over arguing all issues in court, including:

  • Decreased time to reach a final divorce settlement
  • Both parties can express their individual desires while working toward a common goal
  • Less conflict between spouses
  • Higher rate of compliance with the agreement
  • Creates a more personalized agreement.

Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney in North Carolina

Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, the experienced attorneys at Jerkins Family Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, will represent your best interests and protect your legal rights through this emotional time. We understand that divorce can be costly for both parties and that hiring a qualified divorce attorney is an investment in your future. We are committed to providing our clients with the best legal representation. Contact us today.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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