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Nevada lawyer will represent his dad in divorce from his mom

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that it is permissible for an attorney to represent his father in a divorce case in which the attorney’s mother is the responding party.

In making its decision, the court overruled arguments from the mother in which she claimed that her son’s representation of her husband is a clear conflict of interest, primarily because her son could potentially be called as a witness in the divorce case. She also argued that her son, with the potential to inherit from his parents’ estate, had a vested interest in the financial outcome of the divorce. The court did not agree, stating that the mother did not prove that those circumstances existed at a level that would require her son’s disqualification.

Specifically, the court ruled that the mother’s concerns were too tenuous, and that she “has not established that she shared a confidential or fiduciary relationship with [her son] sufficient to give her standing to seek his disqualification.” There is no ethical rule prohibiting a child from representing a parent, the court said, and therefore any mere appearance of impropriety in allowing the representation in this case is not enough to warrant the removal of the son as his father’s attorney.

However, the court seemed to indicate that the mother may be able to challenge her son’s role in her divorce at a later date, specifically when the case nears its trial date and it becomes clear whether the son will be called as a witness or involved in some other way.

Source: ABA Journal, “Top Nevada Court Says Attorney Son Can Represent Dad in Divorce From Mom,” Martha Neil, Aug. 13, 2012

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