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Planning for divorce? Don't take advice from family and friends

Did you just turn 50, and now that your kids are away at college, you're ready to engage on the divorce that you've been thinking about for years? At your age, you definitely have some good friends and close relatives who've gone through the process.

After talking with family and friends about the experience, you probably feel like you know what to expect in your own proceedings - and you probably feel like you have plenty of people to turn to for advice. The thing is, divorce is a serious legal process, and you don't want to take advice from just anyone.

Friends don't know all the facts

Trusting the advice of friends and family when it comes to divorce is a dangerous trap. Indeed, no two people are the same, and no two divorces are the same. Your good friend might have had to deal with a contentious ex during his or her divorce. Conversely, your spouse may be easy to negotiate with and eager to facilitate an amicable breakup.

Your friends and family might know a lot about you, but they won't know the details of everything about your relationship, the assets shared in your marital estate, or how you raise your children. As such, the advice from your friend might not apply to your situation.

Your friends aren't lawyers

There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the law going around. Sometimes people will give you this information as if it's true, and you might not know any better. Just because they've been through a divorce, or just because they've watched a lot of divorce court on television doesn't make them an expert and they could steer you down a very dangerous path with bad advice. A such, be careful with the advice you receive.

Friends are not objective

Your closest friends will likely take your side in your divorce proceedings. They will be your most passionate advocates. That said, the best approach in the divorce process is to remain cool, calm and collected. This is why you hire a divorce attorney to represent you - your lawyer can advocate for your best interests, while not letting emotions disturb the peaceful progression of your divorce process. In the long run, a cool-headed lawyer can save you a lot of time, money and stress.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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