Should Lawyers Be Prohibited From Representing In Divorces?

I ask because it seems (to me) that most states have very elaborate laws and regulations regarding divorce. Child support, visitation, etc. are very specifically spelled out in law, so why involve a 3rd party who has a financial interest in prolonging the proceedings?
If lawyers were relagated to s trictly advisory role, there would be many benefits:
-shorter duration proceedings
-adherence to the law, in favor of long, poorly written divorce agreements
-much less expense -lawyers charge $300/hour and UP$$$!
American divorces regularly bankrupt people, and reduce the resources available to the children-in effect, it is a massive transfer of wealth to law firms.
I see very little downside to this, and much on the upside-what do you think?

American divorces don’t regularly bankrupt people, and most divorces aren’t expensive. What tends to get expensive is when the two people can’t agree on things like matters of custody or support, so matters get litigated, and then relitigated, and the couple ends up in court, often again and again. That’s not the fault of the lawyers, though. That’s the fault of the couple, though, who can’t come to an agreement, sometimes because the trouble in the relationship that led to the divorce makes them both vindictive and unwilling to compromise with the other. If anything, the lawyers, not having a personal or emotional stake in the matter, might calm their clients down and make them more likely to settle.

I’m no big fan of the legal profession, but depriving people of a lawyer and leaving them to rely on their own wits in a court setting is cruel. Some people can’t stop talking when they should, some people freeze up and most people are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of death.

It would suck to get divorced when you’re married to a lawyer, that’s for sure.

The legal part yes, but being free of a lawyer spouse would be fantastic.

In situations where there’s an imbalance of power one person may simply not be comfortable confronting the other in open court. An extreme example would be in the case of domestic violence, but there needn’t have been physical abuse. If you’ve been deferring to someone on almost everything for the past few decades, it is extremely difficult to stand up to them in court, especially if you’re afraid of them.

Even if there isn’t that imbalance, divorces are still very emotional. Even lawyers don’t usually do their own, for precisely that reason. The end result of no-lawyers-allowed divorces would be that whoever is more able to separate themselves from the situation is going to be at a huge advantage, and that’s not really fair or in anyone’s best interests.

Also, about the lawyers being financially interested in excess litigation, that is almost never the case. Lawyers, especially $300/hr lawyers, don’t have a shortage of work. You pay them that much because they’re able to litigate efficiently. You can practically guarantee that almost any proceeding is going to be much, much faster with expensive lawyers than without.

Lawyers are relegated to a strictly advisory role. What is it that you think lawyers do? They advise their clients and follow their instructions. They don’t make decisions on their own about how to proceed. A drawn out, expensive divorce is entirely the fault of the clients (though in fairness, one party to a divorce can make it expensive and drawn out to the other party if the other party isn’t willing to roll over and get shafted).

And that’s precisely why the lawyers are necessary.

Not every couple seeking a divorce has kids, so for some people child support is a non-issue. Divorce can involve a lot of complicated legal manuevering when people are trying to hid assets. It helps to have a trained professional.

In real life there are lawyers who only try to achieve the clients ends, but that is not a rule. There are plenty of lawyers who will encourage a client to fight a matter that ought to be compromised. Lawyers have enormous influence over the clients because the clients are out of their depth in gaining knowledge of what will happen and believe the lawyers. Most private practice lawyers have large overhead nuts to make every month. Many see that as more important than leaving the client as rich as they found the client.

And salespeople will sometimes shade the truth in order to make a sale. Just because lawyers and divorce proceedings are, or can be, bigger ticket items than a flat screen TV doesn’t mean the client isn’t responsible for what their hired gun does (this side of malpractice, that is).

But say we acknowledge that lawyers are, by definition, influential figures who are de facto more than advisors and agents based on their knowledge of a highly technical area. How could we further limit their role in order to protect clients?

Lawyers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients, and that includes keeping the client’s bill as low as possible. A lawyer who intentionally drags out a case in order to pad his bill is subject to civil suit from his client and sanctions from the bar. Like anything else in the real world, this doesn’t always function ideally, but if you’re going to posit that lawyers have an incentive to drag out their cases, then you also have to include that they have a disincentive to drag out their cases.

This. The law is complicated, which means it’s best to have a specialist handle it. It doesn’t help for the law to be “very specifically spelled out” if you don’t know it.

Yes it certainly is a rule. If you’re going to badmouth the entire profession at least don’t explicitly lie about it.

Here’s the one I’m subject to.

Considering that my ex-wife did everything possible to refuse to cooperate, to refuse to negotiate, to slander me as a murderous psychopath who may well shoot her as she stepped out to get her mail*, to lie to everyone around her and totally misrepresent what was happening and what we had both done, you damn betcha I needed an attorney!

  • Yes, she actually made that claim. That she was afraid to go outside even to get her mail because I might be parked down the street and shoot her and for this reason, I should be forced, as part of the terms of our divorce, to agree to never set foot again in the City of Minneapolis (where I’d lived for 17.5 years) or to be arrested the moment that I did because it would constitute proof that I intended her harm.

I remember before the 70s there was a common saying, “Divorce is only for the rich people.” And it had a lot of validity. Poor people just stayed married and went their seperate ways

Lawyers tend to keep people honest. For example, the ex-MrRobyn decided to shaft me with several hundred dollars in unpaid utility bills that I had no choice but to pay if I wanted to clean up my credit. If I’d had a lawyer, said lawyer would have bundled up all of these bills and [del]shoved them up the ex-MrRobyn’s ass[/del] encouraged him to pay them or face sanctions from the court. But since we got divorced in a no-fault state, there were no lawyers involved, hence the need for me to pay all that money.

Well, at least that made your side of the argument easy. “Your Honor, I’m divorcing her because she’s batshit insane.”

My friend lost custody,the house and the money, and he was the lawyer.

I can answer in the affirmative to both statements. It did, and it is.