Brian D. Perskin & Associates

Ignoring the Peanut Gallery during Divorce

Divorce can be a tumultuous and life-altering experience. Well-meaning friends and family members will offer up their opinions and advice, which can be extremely beneficial, but it is important to know when to ignore comments from the peanut gallery. Doing so will benefit your emotional and mental welfare, as well as your legal action as a whole.

Fueling the Fire can be Disastrous

While their intentions may be good, friends and family members can do a great deal of damage by providing advice during your divorce. They love you and want to look out for your best interest, but fueling the fire can have disastrous results on your case. Hearing that your ex is an idiot for having an affair and that you can do better is cathartic, but when a loved one expands on the sentiment by telling you that you deserve a piece of property or certain amount of spousal support due to infidelity, they are encouraging angry and vindictive behavior. Fighting in court just for the sake of hurting your ex isn’t smart, and can result in mounting legal fees.

Some friends or family members may advise you to restrict you ex-spouse’s contact with the children, force them to move out of the marital residence, or liquidate joint financial accounts or other assets. Doing any of these things will be incredibly detrimental to your divorce action and will negatively impact your final settlement agreements.

Who Feels the Most Entitled?

Matrimonial and family law cases can be expensive, especially if they are contested and require intensive litigation and motion practice. It is not uncommon for a friend or family member to help pay their loved one’s legal fees in order to retain a competent and experienced attorney. Unfortunately, this provides the payee with a sense of entitlement when it comes to the case. They feel that since they are taking responsibility for all fees incurred, that they have a say in their loved one’s divorce or child custody action. They will often weigh in one sensitive issues, and try to convince the party to see certain situations from their point of view.

Instead of depending on someone else to pay their legal bills, a person going through divorce should seek other options regarding retainer fees. Negotiating with an attorney is common, as is agreeing to monthly payments or a split retainer fee. Some lawyers price their services on a sliding scale according to income, or will perform work on contingency. Working on contingency means that a lawyer will only collect payment if the legal work performed results in a favorable settlement for their client. Remaining level headed and thinking clearly will help you save money during divorce.

How to Handle Unwanted Advice

Unsolicited divorce advice is given for a variety of reasons. Your friends and family love you, and they want what’s best for you. Sometimes, they are drawing from their previous experience with divorce (whether their own, or a friend’s), and truly think that their advice is helpful.

If you are on the receiving end of unwanted advice concerning your divorce or child custody matter, the best course of action is to be polite and say thank you. Acknowledging that you appreciate their advice will provide them with validation, but do not follow their suggestions if it will be damaging to your case. Remember: advice is given with good intentions, and friends and family members are happy to give it out because they love you. If being polite fails to stop unsolicited advice, then you need to have a very clear and frank discussion with the person and let them know that this is your case, and you will only be discussing it with your attorney for now on.

Ask for Positive Support

Instead of legal advice, request that loved ones give you emotional support during this difficult life change. Simply providing a shoulder to lean on during particularly hard time, such as a wedding anniversary, will help tremendously. Friends should schedule fun activities to help take your mind off of your divorce, and family members can offer to watch your children or pick them up from school if you are unable to do so because of work obligations or court appearances. Surrounding yourself with positive emotional support and dependable friends and family members can make a huge difference in your mental well being during a divorce or child custody case.

Hire a Dependable Law Firm

Hiring a dependable law firm that routinely produces results is the smartest thing a person going through a New York divorce can do. The only legal advice one should take is from their attorney, never a friend or family member. Matrimonial and family law are diverse and complicated areas that require a high level of expertise that only an attorney can provide. At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., we know that divorce can be an incredibly trying time, and we make it our goal to provide intelligent and aggressive representation to all of our clients. For more information, contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation today!