“My husband is telling me one thing and I am hearing different things from others.” When news of an impending separation or divorce gets out, and it usually does no matter how discreet the parties are, advice seems to come from all sides. Everyone, as good as their intentions may be, seems to have an opinion or advice when things happen. Listening to and following bad advice can be damaging to your case. Divorce is one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. Decisions made during the divorce process carry consequences, many of which cannot be revisited, remediated or undone. Will a court disallow or revise a property settlement five years after your divorce because it’s a financial disaster for one spouse and a windfall for the other? No.
Every divorce situation is different. During the divorce process, it’s crucial that you get the right information so that you can make sound financial, not emotional decisions. Bad divorce advice can have an impact on all areas of the divorce process, including the parenting plan, child support, alimony, etc. It can create false expectations. For example, a friend might have received a divorce in a different state. She tells you that you should expect to receive a certain amount in child support and or alimony because that is what she received. As a consequence, you enter into negotiations expecting similar results only to discover that your state guidelines are very different and the amounts that you can hope to receive are significantly less. Child support guidelines vary from state to state and alimony can vary not only state to state, but court to court.
Remember, divorce is often a time of emotional distress, and someone’s perception of the process and how they were treated is subjective. Someone who experienced a bitter divorce may tell you that he or she would have done things differently, or that a judge was biased and their divorce was a complete disaster. These comments reflect their perspective and may have no relevance to your situation.
When it comes to advice, you should rely on trusted professionals such as family law attorneys and CDFA’s, who not only know and understand the divorce laws in your state, but also know and understand your unique situation. In that way, you can trust that you are receiving information that will provide a framework for you to make the informed decisions that are best for you.
Remember, you have one shot at negotiating your divorce settlement, so make sure it’s going to work for you now and in the future.