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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Conflict of Interest (Rules)


Term Definition Conflict of Interest (Rules) - when any professional is not capable of performing services due to previous or present relationships and/or a situation where confidentiality can be broken.
Application in Divorce If a husband interviews a lawyer but then declines to retain him in a divorce action, that lawyer is barred from representing his spouse. During the interview, the husband told the lawyer confidential information and the attorney is now in a conflict of interest relative to the wife.

No lawyer can ever represent both parties in a divorce, even if the case is uncontested because a conflict of interest exists. This ironclad rule applies to any negotiations in which the parties are adversaries, and it includes premarital agreements.

This same code of ethics exists for experts. If one spouse hires an appraiser, his or her spouse must hire a different appraiser. An expert can not provide services to both sides of a divorce case due to a conflict of interest.

A judge may have a conflict of interest in hearing a divorce case if one or both of the spouses are a past or current acquaintance. This can cause problems in a highly contested divorce case in a small town. In such cases, one or both sides appeals to the court to grant a change in jurisdiction.

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