What Constitutes a Conflict of Interest in a Divorce Case?


When seeking a divorce, it's important for you to be aware of what constitutes a conflict of interest for your attorney. An attorney with a conflict of interest can unfavorably alter the outcome of your case.

Common examples of potential conflicts of interest in a divorce case include:

  • After you've interviewed a prospective divorce attorney, even if you decided not to hire him or her, the attorney is no longer allowed to represent your spouse. This is because confidential information can be obtained from just a preliminary interview.
  • An attorney is never allowed to represent both spouses during a divorce, even if it's an uncontested divorce. This is because the spouses inherently have opposing interests regarding their long term welfare and the distribution of marital property.
  • It's considered a conflict of interest for an attorney with a large law firm to represent a client when another member of the firm is representing the opposing party.
  • Your attorney is not allowed to enter into any business relationship in which he or she would receive confidential information about the opposing party.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has rules that govern ethical conduct for lawyers in order to prevent conflicts of interest from affecting the outcome of a case. Lawyers who don't abide by the rules may be denied legal fees for the case, be required to attend a disciplinary hearing, be suspended from the practice of law, or be permanently disbarred.

You can report an attorney for an ethical violation by filing a complaint with the the State Bar of California. You'll be asked to provide the lawyer's name, address, phone number, a description of why you hired him or her to represent you, and a detailed description of what you believe the potential conflict of interest is.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our experienced Pasadena divorce attorneys are eager to advocate for your needs throughout the divorce process.