LEO: Divorce Mediation/Domestic  LE Op. 511


Divorce Mediation/Domestic Relations/Family Law.


April 28, 1983


Concerning the role of an attorney who is involved in the divorce

mediation process, in many cases it would be improper for an attorney to

attempt to render legal advice to both parties as to their legal rights

even if the attorney is paid by both parties since often it would be

virtually impossible to give such advise in a completely non-partisan way.


However, where an attorney has undertaken to provide "legal information"

only, as opposed to "legal advice," the parties understand the distinction

between "legal information" and "legal advice" and have given their

informed consent for an attorney so to act, it may be appropriate in

certain circumstances for an attorney to provide legal information to both

parties, particularly, in uncomplicated and straightforward situations

where the parties are contemplating getting a non-contested divorce and

the marriage has been of short duration with little assets and no children

involved. Regardless of the situation, however, attorneys should be

advised to use great caution before agreeing to provide legal information

or advice to both parties, and should attorneys agree to do so, they

should be extremely careful to be as non-partisan as possible.


Moreover, so long as there is no contest concerning the property

settlement agreement between the parties, it would not be ethically

improper for an attorney to represent one of the parties in a subsequent

uncontested divorce proceeding, although the Committee suggests that

attorneys use caution in this area, make full disclosure to the parties

prior to accepting such employment, receive the informed consent of both

in order to avoid possible conflict of interest or the appearance thereof.


It is ethically permissible for an attorney to allow his name to be added

to the mediation center's list of approved attorneys.


Committee Opinion April 28, 1983




See also LE Op. 1368.