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Divorces happen. Everyday. They are complicated, stressful, chaotic, emotional, messy, and nerve-racking. I remember reading somewhere, "Divorce is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left." Now this blog isn't about the stresses of divorce, but it's a short read on how going through a divorce can make a bad foreclosure even worse. It especially makes it harder for the attorney defending the foreclosure lawsuit. You see the problem that arises with Divorce + Foreclosures = whether a conflict of interest would arise.

There are rules by which attorneys are governed. The rules regulating the Florida Bar contain a portion that involves conflicts of interest. A lawyer must not represent a client if:

(1) the representation of 1 client will be directly adverse to another client; or

(2) there is a substantial risk that the representation of 1 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.

For example, assuming you are wise and you are being represented by counsel in your foreclosure matter, when the parties are going through a divorce, if Spouse 1 wants to keep the house and Spouse 2 wants to sell the house there is a conflict of interest. The attorney who once defended the two must now withdraw from the case. The attorney will not be able to represent the two because they want different things. Granting the wish of one spouse will be directly adversed to the other, thus posing a conflict of interest.

Here's a little advice, if you are about to be in foreclosure and going through a divorce at the same time. Make sure you get a different attorney to represent your interest the foreclosure matter. Well, you may be thinking, 'what if we want the same things?' In a nice world, this sounds like an exception, however, if at any point the other person changes their mind, despite the bombs going off between both parties, it will create a conflict of interest, and the attorney would have to withdraw as counsel.

Due to the complexity and extensiveness of both areas of law, this blog will be limited to one example and one tip. I highly recommend those who find themselves simultaneously dancing to the beats of breakdancing foreclosure and the salsa rhythms of divorce, please seek the legal assistance of an attorney that SPECIALIZES in these specified areas of law, as they each are extremely different.

The only similarity between the two is that no one goes into a marriage with the intentions of getting a divorce. No one buys their dream home with the intentions of having the bank seize it after years of paying it off. Things happen in life. Everyday. Foreclosures happen. They are complicated, stressful, chaotic, emotional, messy, and nerve-racking. If this happens to you, you should start looking very carefully, to the right and to the left. Hiring the wrong attorney will feel like being hit by a Mack Truck in the end. Give me a call so I can try to STOP one of the Mack Trucks in your life!

On the corner of stop signs and mack trucks,

Sonja-Lucienne Cajuste, Esq.