This may just be the most important article you read regarding your divorce.
Going through a divorce is hard enough. The last thing you need is to get slanted, subjective "advice" from family and friends. I get it though, how can you not listen to them?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying family and friends are intentionally trying to give you bad advice. No, not at all. I'm sure they have your best interest in mind. It just so happens that the advice they probably are giving you is bad and you should not listen to it. Take it from a divorce attorney who has seen this more times than I can count.
My clients would ALWAYS tell me some variation of the following: "My best friend's sister went through a divorce can she got a, b, c and the dishwasher." My response would be, "Okay, so what are you telling me? You want that, too."
Divorce doesn't work that way.
I describe divorce like a snowflake; no two are the same. Every divorce is different. It's so fact sensitive that there is no way you can compare one to another.
Maybe you were married the same amount of time as someone you know who got divorced. Maybe you have the same number of children. But, that's not how assets get divided.
There is a myriad of factors that attorneys and courts consider when discussing alimony and asset distribution. No two couples have the same assets. No two couples have the same marriage. That's why you can't compare one divorce to another.
Here are 4 reasons not to listen to family and friends for divorce advice:
1. They don't know all the detail and facts about your marriage, even though they think they do.
If you're close to your friends and family, they probably know about you and what's going on in your life. However, I don't care if you speak to them every day, I guarantee you they don't know everything. They don't know all your assets that would be subject to distribution; they don't know all the numbers and finances. And even if you told them, they don't know how to process that information objectively and legally so it would mean something to you.
2. They don't know the law.
Unless your friend or family member is a practicing divorce attorney, they don't know the law regarding divorce. They might think they do, but they don't know it all. Watching Divorce Court is not the same thing as being a divorce lawyer. Divorce law is complicated and it all depends on the specific facts of your particular case. It's not as simple as just splitting everything, taking an average, or basing child support on how many kids you have. Friends and family are not considering the nuances of your case.
3. They are not living the divorce like you are.
The only person who truly understands what your divorce feels like is you. The second closest would be your soon-to-be ex. Not your family or friends. I would compare their view to a fan watching the game from the stands. The fan can remove themselves from the game whenever they choose and maybe get a hot dog, or just leave the stadium if the game is boring. Not you and your divorce. You can't escape it. Their advice is coming from a different point of view, which might be good, but often it is either useless or makes things worse.
4. They are not objective, which is the type of advice you need to rely on.
That's why people hire attorneys. Although they are your advocate, they should be objective and advise you accordingly. A good divorce attorney acts without the emotional baggage that you are dealing with. Friends and family can't do that. Just the nature of being your friend means they are not objective and probably are unconsciously trying to make things right for you. As a divorce attorney, I'm always straight up with my clients; I tell them the good, bad and the ugly. The last thing you want is to be surprised when the judge decides something differently than you expected.
The Most Important Piece Of Legal Advice You Will Get:
Here it is…ready? It will blow your mind.
Don’t listen to your friends, their friends, or your cousin’s brother’s friend.
Everybody will want to give you advice about what he or she got in his or her divorce, or better yet, what you should get in yours. Just tune it out.
You can’t compare your divorce to someone else’s. There is nothing good that can come from it. Focus on you. Seek out objective opinions and take subjective advice with a grain of salt.
Save yourself the wasted energy from engaging in conversation about other people’s divorce. Next time one of your friends or family offers advice to you on your situation, you can politely stop them from offering their advice to your situation.
If you are in the middle of a divorce, or about to start one, you have BIGGER fish to fry than to worry about another divorce, or what people are saying about yours.
This is your life and only you will live with the consequences of the decisions you make.