I couldn’t find the answer to this question anywhere, so I thought the experts here will be able to address this.

In a divorce/family law case, can a son who is a lawyer defend one parent against the other? Does this constitute a conflict of interest or anything similar, especially if one spouse only is comfortable with the son defending her.

1 Answer 1


According to ABA model rule 1.7, there is a conflict of interest if:

there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.

Being the son of the opposing party is a conflict of interest (it's certainly a "personal interest of the lawyer".) However:

Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of interest under paragraph (a), a lawyer may represent a client if:
(1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client;
(2) the representation is not prohibited by law;
(3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal; and
(4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.

So it appears the client can sign a waiver. (But even with a waiver, he can't represent both of them in the divorce.)

Of course, not all states use the model rules.

There may be other issues involved, such as rules prohibiting financial support of clients and confidentiality, which might make such representation tricky in some circumstances.

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