FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
January 10, 1961
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
There is no impropriety when a lawyer who proposes to reestablish the civil rights of a female
ward of a state mental hospital acts as her next friend in such proceedings with the intention of
subsequently acting as her counsel in proceedings to establish a common law marriage.
Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar submits a question relative to a female client
committed to the Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee and whose civil rights
he proposes to re-establish in the County Judge’s Court. He questions whether, in
the absence of a near relative or friend to act as “next friend,” he may do so and
later represent her in legal proceedings to establish a common law marriage.
We find no objection to him or his associate attorney acting as “next friend” under the
circumstances stated, and then later acting as counsel in the proceedings to establish a common
law marriage. We believe, however, it would be better if he could find another attorney to act as