Divorce – why not to take your friends’ advice

Divorce – why not to take your friends’ advice

There’s one thing about divorce upon which nearly everyone can agree: it’s not easy.  Regardless of the situation, the dissolution of a relationship which was to have lasted forever is draining, so it’s only natural for those closest to us to offer support.    While the moral support of friends in divorce is indispensable, the same can’t always be said of their advice and here are a few reasons why:

–          Just as no two marriages are exactly alike, neither are any two given divorces.  And that’s the problem…. your friend’s experience with divorce is most likely limited to personal experience – how their own divorce went.  There are a myriad of details which distinguished your marriage from his and will do the same for your divorce.

–          A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.  Everyone’s got some experience with this sort of situation.  Let’s say you hurt your knee.  You travel from doctor to doctor, pick up all sorts of terminology, see x-rays, see what doctors are looking at when they pull at your x-rays, etc.  You now have a certain amount of experience in the area of knee injuries.  This does not, however, make you an orthopedist or in any way qualified to diagnose the source of knee pain in your friend.  The same can be said of the divorce process – you go through a divorce, pick up the terminology, understand some of the procedural issues, etc.  You’re probably in a unique position to sympathize and provide support, but not to give advice.

–          Friends will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know.  That’s what a friend does, he sympathizes.  Your spouse may be just the worst person in the world and your friend will undoubtedly agree with that assessment, saying she should pay for everything since it’s her fault you’re splitting up in the first place.  But, divorce isn’t about punishing the guilty party and the relative moral fiber of each party has got little or nothing to do with division of property, support, etc.  An attorney will tell you this.  A friend probably won’t.

The bottom line is this:  divorce advice should come from an attorney.  They’ve got years of experience and training and, perhaps just as important, are objective.  If you’ve hired an attorney, you’re paying them for their qualifications and knowledge.  If you’re considering hiring an attorney, know that they can bring to your case structure, strategy, and guidance.   Lean on your friends for support, but take your advice from an attorney.