When you mention the word ‘divorce’ to a family member, friend, or colleague, most people will immediately share a divorce story, express their concerns, or give you specific instructions (i.e.-“Make sure you keep the ______”). Why does this happen? Well, divorce is a highly stimulating topic. When it comes to divorce, there a lot of people out there who consider themselves to be ‘experts’ who will offer you advice based on their own divorce experience. Spouses talk with in-laws, siblings, neighbors, workmates, and best friends to seek advice about the decisions they are trying to make and the issues at hand. Sometimes these outside ‘consultants’ offer helpful information that can assist in your decision making and support your coming to a mutually beneficial agreement and finishing the process successfully. After all, it can be helpful to bounce ideas off of a friend or family member who knows you and your spouse. It’s good to hear the story of someone who has been through a similar experience and can provide you with useful information. Other times, however, this is not the case and the accounts of these outside ‘experts’ can confuse you and slow down or even derail the process.
If your Uncle Ted or your best friend from college had an unusually negative divorce experience or had a situation that was very different from yours, their advice such as ’You shouldn’t accept less than_____’, ‘Don’t compromise on anything. I did and look what happened to me’, or ‘Don’t tell him what the kids are doing and see how much he likes it’, etc. can actually make your situation worse, much worse if you follow their well intended advice or instructions. It’s important to remember that this is your divorce—no two divorces are ever the same and only you know the best course of action and decision making for you and your family.
Hopefully, the divorce coach, mediator, or family law attorney that you have chosen is someone whose opinion you feel you can trust. Consider talking with them about the stories you have been hearing and the advice you have been given and see what their thoughts are. Let them feedback their ideas to you regarding whatever pearls of wisdom you have been told. Remember, the divorce professionals you have chosen have probably worked on 10, 50, or 100 times more divorces than Uncle Ted has. Always, always consider the source.
What have you heard about divorce lately? What horror or success stories have people been sharing with you? Comment below and let us know, too.