When people go through divorces, they usually turn to family and friends for comfort and support. That's normally good. However, when family and friends also give advice about how to handle the legal issues, there's usually trouble. Non-lawyers often find it easy to assume that what is true in one person's divorce will also be true in their divorce. And that's usually NOT true!
If you are going through, or are about to go through, a divorce and you are hearing “legal” advice from family and friends, here are some reasons why the advice will probably be wrong. 1. Beause the facts and circumstances were probably different from your situation. Some factors that may influence the outcome include:
- Responsibility for the problems. The outcome can be influenced by one party being primarily responsible for a major problem, such as wasting money or other assets, having an affair or being uncooperative and causing problems regarding the kids, for example.
- Length of marriage. The shorter the marriage, usually the less spousal support is ordered.
- Actual earnings and earning potential. If both spouses make similar wages, there probably won't be much support exchanged. If there is a big difference in earnings, there may be support.
- Children or no children. That changes the issues and sometimes the resources that can be divided. Having children also adds a number of potential issues.
- The type and extent of assets. That has a big effect on how and how much is divided. Bills could be paid and cash could be distributed, if there is cash or cash flow. If not, finances will be tight.
- Health. If one or both parties have health issues, that will probably affect the responsibilities they have and the assets to be divided.
- Education of the parties. More education usually will lead to better jobs and income. Less education is often associated with less income. That may have an effect on how the assets are divided.
There are many other possible facts and circumstances that vary from case to case which will affect the outcomes. 2. Being in a different court, with a different Judge, may mean a difference in which issues are important. For example, some Judges will overlook adultery, while others make it a central, determinative issue that greatly affects the division of property. Each Judge has different hot buttons and focuses on different issues. 3. Willingness of one party to accept less can have a huge effect. Often, one party is much more anxious to get the divorce over with than the other is. The more anxious party often will agree to many more concessions than the other party will. 4. Lack of money can also determine the outcome. While Judges try to equalize the funds for attorneys usually, it doesn't always work out that way. Usually the deeper pockets will be able to come out better. 5. Different attorneys approach things differently. Two attorneys, like Judges, will often see the same case with different issues and outcomes. One attorney may try to max out the recovery while a different attorney will focus on getting a reasonable amount of assets without breaking the bank or without causing damage to family relationships. There are always 2 or 3 or a dozen ways to handle a given case. Don't assume that your case will come out a certain based on how a “similar” case you heard about was resolved. Instead, hire an attorney you are comfortable with and come to an understanding about how you will approach the case, and then work to stay on target. Come up with your own plan instead of assuming that the result is predetermined!