What Is a Conflict of Interest in Family Law? 

A conflict of interest arises when one or more attorneys are representing two or more parties who are in conflict with one another. For example, two attorneys representing the same spouse or parent may be in conflict with one another if the spouse has an interest in the outcome of the dispute. In such a situation, a separate attorney should be retained. 


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Conflict of interest 

In New Jersey, the conflict of interest law prohibits the use of public resources for personal or private gain. A conflict of interest occurs when a public official’s personal or financial interest is directly incompatible with his or her official duties. In addition, a public official is prohibited from taking any action that may materially affect his or her own financial interests. 

While many conflicts of interest can be difficult to recognize, an ethical attorney will always do his or her best to avoid representing a client with a conflict of interest. In order to avoid a conflict, an attorney should conduct proper research, disclose conflicting relationships to prospective clients, and obtain informed consent to take a case. 

Four-factor test 

Generally, a conflict of interest exists where a person has a conflict of interest with his or her client. For example, a solicitor who had a previous relationship with a client might be conflicted by a subsequent relationship. Such a conflict of interest may be unintentional or it could result from a misunderstanding. Regardless, a person should raise any potential conflict of interest with a solicitor during correspondence with the other party. 

Generally, lawyers should avoid conflicts of interest in family law. This is because a lawyer may put himself in a position to benefit from his client’s financial interest beyond just and fair professional remuneration. A lawyer should charge reasonable fees that reflect his skills and expertise. 

Defendant’s breach of confidence 

A breach of confidence action has a variety of possible remedies, including an injunction against further use and damages. The objective of such a claim is to restore the harmed party to the position that they would have been in had they not been harmed. 

This kind of case can be used to hold someone accountable for mishandling confidential information, such as a child’s birth date. In such cases, a breach of confidence claim can be brought if the other party intentionally and knowingly violated the information. 

Defendant’s breach of trust created by deed 

A breach of trust created by deed is one of the most common causes of divorce in family law. It can be caused by Defendant’s actions or by Plaintiff’s inaction. For example, a life insurance policy cannot be transferred back to the original owner, even if the owner wanted to. However, constructive trust can be created by making the true owner the beneficiary of the policy.