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During divorce, beware of legal advice from family and friends

If you have recently announced your decision to divorce, you may have noticed that people around you have a lot of advice to give -- particularly those who have been through a divorce of their own. While all of this advice is probably well intentioned, you have probably noticed that not all of it is helpful. What you may not realize, however, is that some of it can be downright harmful, especially it involves legal and financial matters pertaining to your divorce.

The most obvious reason to avoid taking legal advice from friends and family is that, in most cases, they probably are not divorce lawyers. Even if a friend’s divorce involved circumstances similar to your own, that does not mean that he or she is qualified to offer advice about the legal issues involved in your divorce, such as property division, child custody or spousal maintenance.

Another thing to keep in mind when friends and family try to give you legal advice is that they do not necessarily have the full story about your situation. It is perfectly normal to pick and choose what details you share with your friends and family during something as personal as divorce, but this means that any advice you receive from these individuals is likely to be based on incomplete information.

Of course, your friends and family most likely have some truly valuable advice to offer in many other aspects of divorce, and talking to people who have had similar experiences is one of the best ways to cope with the stress and difficulty of ending a marriage. For example, if you are unsure how to talk to your kids about your breakup or simply need to vent, your friends and loved ones may be an excellent resource. When it comes to legal matters, however, make sure you talk to a professional.

Source: Forbes, "Three Of The Biggest Mistakes The Wealthy Make When Divorcing," Russ Alan Prince, June 9, 2014

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