If you have a good friend who’s gone through the painful process of divorce, and can give you emotional support during your own case, that’s wonderful. But I always tell my clients that what happened during the friend’s case may not be applicable to his or her own. Psychology Today‘s Susan Pease Gadoua agrees:
Your friend/acquaintance may not tell you about special circumstances in his case that may have influenced a particular outcome.
For example, he had a prenuptial agreement that predetermined a great deal of what the marital settlement was going to be so his divorce process was fairly smooth. Embarrassed by the fact that he had this agreement in place, he left this important fact out when he told his soon-to-be-divorcing co-worker that “The court system is a piece of cake to navigate.” The co-worker had a completely different experience and felt he and his family had been decimated by the attorneys and by the proceedings. His experience was made worse by the fact that, because he thought it would be relatively easy, he erred on the side of preparing less for his case. This is ultimately what came back to haunt him.
Everything about you and your case is different from anyone else’s case or circumstances.
If you think about all the moving parts that come together to make up a divorce, you can see how you really can’t compare your situation to that of someone else. In the first place, you are different people who, even if you had the same attorneys and judge, would have different chemistry with these people. You have different issues to settle.
For example you may have more debt to contend with or more earning potential than your friend did. You may want different things from the settlement than they did. Perhaps your case is more contentious than your friend’s case. Or there are special needs children involved. Or you are closer to retirement than your friend. And on and on.
There are endless details that, though they may seem small or insignificant, can make all the difference in the world.
It’s fine to pick their brain or ask them about what happened for them but keep in mind that this happened for them. Ask them if they had any particular circumstances that might have made their case better or worse.