Can two spouses use one attorney to represent them in a divorce case?

The short answer is no.  Legally, an attorney can only represent the person who has contacted that attorney first.  The attorney is only allowed to give legal advice to that spouse.  However, if the parties come to an agreement on the terms of their case, such as custody, parenting time and division of assets, the attorney can prepare the paperwork to be submitted to the court and handle the scheduling of the case with the court to finalize the matter.  It is recommended that the other spouse have the paperwork reviewed by their own attorney prior to signing it.  It is great for all members of the family if the case can be resolved between the parties!

Child Custody Best Interest Factors in Michigan

Michigan Child Custody Factors:

Courts look at these factors when considering which parent should have physical custody of a child when there is a dispute and the parties can’t come to an agreement.  This will give you an idea of what you want to consider when proceeding with your case.


Best Interest Factors



Michigan looks to the following factors when determining the best interests of a child:

  • The love, affection and other emotional ties between the parents and the child;
  • The capacity/disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection and guidance, and to continue the education and raising the child in its religion;
  • The capacity/ disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing and care;
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
  • The permanence of the existing or proposed home;
  • The moral fitness of the parties;
  • The mental and physical health of the parties;
  • The home, school and community record of the child;
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express it;
  • The willingness of the parties to facilitate/ encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • Domestic violence
  • Any other factor that the court considers to be relevant.
Joint Custody Factors When making the joint custody decision, the court will consider whether the parents will be able to cooperate and generally agree concerning decisions affecting the child’s welfare.

Do I Need An Attorney for My Divorce, Custody, Parenting Time, or Support Case in Livingston, Oakland, and Washtenaw Counties, in Michigan?

Many times, when I am consulting with a potential client, they may ask me if they really need a lawyer to represent them in their case.  The short answer is, YES, absolutely.

There are websites out there such as LegalZoom, however, there is no substitute for the advice of an experienced attorney.  A website cannot tell you the best course of action, how to file an action, what steps to take, etc., as a substitute for an experienced attorney. Even if you try to file your divorce or other family law issue/action on your own, the legal process is very confusing and you may have to file additional documents and appear in court many more times than needed.  Also, many counties are constantly updating their policies and procedures, which a website cannot tell you.  Furthermore, court clerks cannot give you legal advice on how to proceed.

The advice of an attorney is invaluable.  There may be issues that you do not even know about and could not possibly know.  There may be suggestions from an experienced lawyer to make your situation better and the divorce or other family law issue to go more smoothly.

Another huge issue is the paperwork that needs to be done.  A summons, complaint, ex parte orders, motions, the final judgment- they all have specific requirements and the clerks will not accept incorrect paperwork.  I have seen countless people without attorneys arrive at court to find out that they were missing something and need to do a step over again.  They are very frustrated!

Finally, this is not a cost benefit analysis situation.  There is almost always a benefit, whether it be advice or time saved (such as time missed from work), to just simply having the process go smoothly, that makes the cost of an attorney worth it.