Can my attorney handle my bankruptcy and divorce or is it required I have2 separate lawyers?

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Can my attorney handle my bankruptcy and divorce or is it required I have2 separate lawyers?

My wife filed for divorce but because our joint debt is hundreds of thousands due to PG we are filing for bankruptcy first. The divorce is on hold. My attorney representing me says that he can file the bankruptcy for both of us and then represent me in the divorce. Is this correct?

Asked on February 28, 2011 under Business Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

He may technically be correct, in that a party can often waive a conflict of interest and use an attorney as long as its done knowingly (it's impossible to give a definite answer, since much depends on the exact circumstances) but it's highly inadvisable. You and your wife are in an adversarial situation regarind the divorce, but if if you file jointly for bankruptcy, you are in a cooperative situation there. There is an inherent conflict of interest for an attorney to represent you in the divorce but both of you in the bankruptcy; granted, the conflict affects you wife more than you, but even for you, there is a substantial chance that something will be said or done in the context of the bankruptcy that prejudices you vis-a-vis the divorce or vice versa. This is very ill-advised; besides, few attorneys practice heavily in divorce and bankruptcy law; wouldn't you rather have an attorney expert in each?


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