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Why you shouldn’t compare your divorce to your neighbor’s

Divorce is a process that feels stressful and isolating. You are separating from someone you previously committed to. You might feel as if you need someone who went through the process to give you advice on how to handle the proceedings and fallout.

However, no two divorces are the same. The circumstances around your divorce and your neighbor’s can be vastly different, and not all the advice your neighbor has would be applicable to your situation. Here are some ways that your divorces can vary:

Your relationship

Arguably what sets your divorce apart the most from your acquaintance are the conditions surrounding your relationship to your ex. The only thing you two would find in common is that your marriages did not work, but the reasons can be drastically different. Perhaps your ex was sent to jail and your neighbor just no longer felt love. Maybe you and your ex are on speaking terms while other divorcees file restraining orders.

If you receive relationship advice from a divorced acquaintance, take it with a grain of salt. You know your ex better than anyone, so acting upon someone else’s experience could damage the situation further.

Property division

This is a complicated aspect of the divorce process and chances are the divorcee would not give you advice guaranteed to work here. Maybe your neighbor settled their divorce peacefully with a mediator, but you and your ex can’t even be in the same room.

You also have finances and properties your friend might not have as much experience in. You could have a cabin up north, three cars and a boat between the two of you. Maybe it is more complex because you and your husband own a shared business. There is too much to consider in property division. Even if your neighbor were to help you out, they certainly would not be able to have advice on all departments.

Time and location

Divorce and property laws vary from state to state. Minnesota has its own laws while Michigan and Florida have different variations. If your neighbor divorced in a community property state or a place that does not adhere to equitable division, they will not offer many tips applicable to your proceedings.

If you seek the advice from someone older or who has gone through more than one divorce, you should still warrant caution. Divorce laws have changed over the years and continues to evolve as time goes on. Every divorce case requires special attention in tune with your relationship and your needs going forward. Make sure to refresh yourself on the marital, financial and local conditions before you move forward in the process.

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