One question that our office gets on a regular basis is "Can you represent me and my spouse?" or "Can my spouse attend the initial consultation with me?" The divorce may be amicable and simple. There may be no property to divide or child custody matters to attend to. Even if parties both seek to reach a quick settlement, the answer in Louisiana is always "No."
Why can't we use the same attorney?
First, Louisiana attorneys have ethical obligations to avoid conflicts of interest. Representing two spouses throughout a divorce proceeding is a textbook example of a "conflict of interest".
Your divorce lawyer should be able to answer all of your questions with confidentiality and with your best interests in mind. In a divorce proceeding, each spouse has his/her own interests and goals to consider. Clearly, an attorney who represents both spouses would have major conflicts in representing both spouses.
Second, even if it was possible, it is not in either parties' best interests to have a divorce lawyer who also represents your other spouse. One of the paramount benefits of having your own lawyer is that you can have candid and honest communications about the history of your marriage and your own personal goals moving forward.
Our office handles many "uncontested" proceedings and divorce cases that ultimately end in a mutual settlement. In fact, the happiest divorcing spouses are often the spouses who don't end up going through a stressful trial, or in some cases ,several trials that take place over years. If you believe that a settlement is possible, inform your lawyer that this is your goal and hopefully, this will be the ultimate outcome in your case.