Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Family Law: Be Wary of Advice

I learned early on in my practice that clients listen to family, friends, co-workers, and even hair dressers - some times to the point of disbelieving me. Well, more back then than now.

Dads Divorce has a great post close to this subject and a great headline: Parents Making Divorce Decisions: Don’t Take Advice from Family and Friends. Man or woman, preparing to file divorce or in the middle of a case, people need to read this. A few points:

Your family and friends all mean well. They want to support and help you through any crisis. But be aware that along with their support they bring with them the baggage of opinions and judgments that inevitably color their advice. If you allow yourself to be influenced by the well-meant suggestions of these individuals, you may find yourself falling into a deep quagmire of confusion or even depression.


A professional divorce attorney, mediator, therapist or member of the clergy with experience in these matters can be a sounding board for you while offering a more impartial perspective on your present situation. It makes sense to talk to such a professional for advice, feedback and as a gauge to see if the direction you are moving in is the wisest for everyone in your family.

Trained professionals know how to remain dispassionate while providing encouragement and support. They know how to listen and ask questions that clarify your challenges and the options available to you. Once you come to a decision and feel it is the most optimum and congruent direction for you and your children, take action and move ahead. Don’t ask for agreement from your friends and family. Ask instead for their support.
No two cases share the same specific characteristics but only have broad characteristics in common. What might have been true for Tom, Dick or Tracy will not necessarily be true for you.

Ask questions of your lawyer. Listen to the answers. Read this blog's archives. Do not rely on war stories from friends, family or co-workers.

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