Surviving divorce can be a difficult process and it helps to have a solid network of support to assist you along the way. However, it’s rarely helpful to seek advice and counsel from everyone you encounter.
Although it might seem helpful at first, it can be extremely detrimental to you and your family to have multiple people weighing in with their opinions and advice on such an important decision.
Surviving Divorce: Where to Get Support
So, whom should you trust? Here are some key considerations about who you should turn to survive the difficult process of divorce:
1. Be careful around recently divorced people.
Myth: Every recently divorced person is an expert on the subject. Another myth: Recently divorced people will tell you everything you need to hear. In reality: Rarely will he or she tell you what you need to hear.
2. Be cautious with well-meaning family and friends.
When you are going through a divorce, your entire circle of family and friends may feel compelled to weigh in on the process. However, you should be extremely cautious about following the legal advice from anyone who isn’t your divorce attorney.
In most cases, the advice that you get from your “well-meaning” friends and family is worth exactly what you pay for it. Absolutely nothing!
Don’t allow your family and friends to create unrealistic expectations about your case. The facts of your case are as unique as you are.
3. Seek emotional support from your closest family and friends.
While it is important that you are cautious with their legal advice, consider seeking emotional support from family or friends that you would trust to manage your money or raise your children.
Rely on those who will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. There is a huge difference between needs and wants.
4. Get help from support groups.
Legitimate divorce support groups sponsored by mainstream churches or qualified healthcare professionals are usually helpful. Make sure that the head of these groups are qualified to give advice on the subject.
5. Trust your attorney.
When it comes to the legal aspects of your case, you must follow the advice of your family law attorney. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose a divorce attorney that you trust with your money, your children, and your future.
6. Disclose confidential information only to your attorney
Every detail of your case must be disclosed to your attorney. The details you disclose will remain confidential only between you and your attorney. This information often contains intimate details about the client that is embarrassing. Only in certain circumstances, may your attorney disclose intimate details about your case without your consent.
7. Keep intimate details about your case to yourself
The attorney-client privilege only applies to information the client discloses to the attorney during the scope of the client’s representation. The same rule does not apply to the client disclosures made to any third party including family and friends.
Often times, those who you would trust to carry your deepest secrets to their grave are the very ones who act as a double agent and disclose this information to your spouse.
What You Musn’t Do When Surviving Divorce
A few years ago, I represented a husband who suspected that his wife was having an affair and he was right! The wife had been having the affair for over a year and made the critical mistake of telling her best friend all of the intimate details.
Unbeknownst to the wife, her friend also shared with her new boyfriend everything the wife told her. The boyfriend, who was recently divorced as a result of his wife’s adultery, contacted my client and gave him every detail of his wife’s affair including all trips planned in the future.
We hired a private investigator to document the details of the wife’s trip with her paramour. The private investigator videotaped the wife frolicking on the beach and verified that the couple was staying in the same hotel room together.
In mediation, we learned that the wife had not disclosed the affair to her attorney. The wife’s attorney threatened to fire her on the spot after she saw the private investigator photographs and videotapes of the affair. This information helped me negotiate a very favorable settlement for my client.
Always remember, when in doubt, keep your mouth shut. The phrase, “loose lips sink ships” applies to divorce cases as well!