When an individual goes through a divorce or legal proceeding, he or she may reach out to friends and family members, read blogs and books, and employ other tools to get advice regarding his or her case. This can be an extremely helpful method to help cope with the stress and anxiety often associated with divorce, and if you are not reaching out to others for help regarding your breakup, you probably should.
Where Should You Get Your Legal Advice?
It is important however to understand what each of these resources can and cannot do for you. For example, while your friends and family can help you move on from your ex, keep you company when you are alone, and lift your spirits, unless they are attorneys, they cannot, and should not, give you legal advice—even if they have personal experience in dealing with their own family law matters. Why?
First, there are an absolute plethora of avenues that your family law matter can take. Your case may, if you’re lucky, be relatively straight forward. Your ex may want to diligently work with you to come to an amicable resolution. On the other hand, your case may require hiring several experts and litigating the issues of the case. You may go to trial for weeks on end, or you may resolve your matter at a Mandatory Settlement Conference. Your case may take approximately six (6) months, or, your case may go on for many years. The options are endless.
Second, and more importantly, each case is different. Thus, no matter how helpful your support system is trying to be, their “advice” regarding how you should litigate your case is likely very bad. This is not because your friend and or family member is trying to lead you astray. This is because the facts of your case are likely very different from the facts of his or her case. For example, the length of your marriage, the property that needs to be divided, the county in which your case resides, the willingness of your ex to settle, whether domestic violence is involved, and other issues may be very different. Some of these examples may seem marginal and may appear to have no effect on your case, but when brought to the attention of the attorneys and the court, will drastically change the outcome of the case.