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Can we use the same divorce lawyer?

The short answer is no.

Technically, one could, but it’s not a good idea, even if your separation and divorce is amicable.

That being said, you may have trouble finding an Ontario family lawyer who is willing to represent you both; although this is not expressly prohibited under the Family Law Rules and the Rules of Professional Conduct, it places the lawyer in the position of having “two bosses”, which automatically raises the potential of a conflict of interest. Also, certain Family Law procedures actually require you to each obtain independent legal advice, and to provide the court with an affidavit or certificate stating you have done so.

Frankly, there is no scenario that makes the use of a single lawyer a good choice. Each of you have highly-divergent legal and financial interests, and having separate legal representation will ensure those interests are protected and optimized.

Even if you and your ex have parted ways without rancor, you should each hire a separate lawyer to help with legal tasks, like drafting a simple separation agreement. While the agreement may solidify a resolution on certain issues you have agreed on between yourselves, a separate review by lawyers – who each have your individual interests in mind – will bring to light any misunderstandings or omissions.

These same lawyers will protect you if there are later issues between you and your ex on how the agreement should be interpreted and implemented.

The more complex your issues, and the more at-odds you are with your ex, the more vital it is to get individual, independent representation.

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