Oral arg. – Ct. of App. – Thurs, Dec. 4, 2014

Ar 10:30 on Thursday (December 4, 2014), the Court of Appeals will hear argument in Leta Collins v. Kenneth Collins.

Leta and Kenneth  were married in 1998 and filed for divorce in 2011.  A single attorney prepared the paperwork for an irreconcilable differences divorce and both signed a waiver of the requirement to file financial statements pursuant to Rule 8.05.   And the property settlement agreement contained a paragraph stating that both parties had disclosed their financial information to the other.  Apparently both filled out financial statements and gave them to their shared attorney but Leta never saw Kenneth’s 8.05.  A year and a half later,  Leta, who is now on food stamps, finds out her ex has a retirement account worth $420,000 and other investments totaling $116,000.  She files a motion to modify which the chancellor, after a hearing, denies.

Sounds like a case to pay attention to if you ever represent both parties in an ID divorce.

Leta’s brief

Kenneth’s brief

Leta’s rebuttal brief

You can view the argument here.

Justices Fair, Ishee and Roberts.  Can barely hear a word.

8 thoughts on “Oral arg. – Ct. of App. – Thurs, Dec. 4, 2014

  1. Mississippi Bar Ethics Opinion No. 80 provides that “the representation of both parties to a no-fault divorce violates the Rule 1.7, MRPC, and that it is, therefore, unethical for a lawyer to undertake such multiple representation. . . . It should be clear on the face of the pleading or the property settlement agreement in a joint bill for divorce of the parties which party the attorney represents.”

    For the full opinion, see https://msbar.org/ethics-discipline/ethics-opinions/formal-opinions/80.aspx

    John Shirley

  2. I wonder if the conflict issue was discussed during the argument. I watched but could hear very little. This was the second Court of Appeals argument this week with audio issues.

  3. I watched SOME of the oral argument. The conflict issue was discussed, but it was noted that the wife “hired” the attorney. I predict that the chancellor’s decision will be affirmed.

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