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Media hype and stories from friends can hurt you in a divorce

We all glean information from a variety of sources. Doing so helps us form well-rounded and informed opinions on a variety of topics. In some situations, accepting advice from friends with personal experience can help you make the best decisions. Other times, information from television, movies and other media sources can help you as well. However, divorce is absolutely not one of those times.

When you consider a potential divorce, you need accurate information that reflects the laws in Illinois and common practices, not worst-case-scenarios that are lurid enough to draw media attention. Advice from well-meaning friends can also fall flat in the face of the dissolution of your marriage. You should seek guidance from those who understand the court processes and likely outcomes, not people with topical or inaccurate ideas about divorce.

Every divorce is inherently unique and different

While there are standard laws that get applied to every divorce in Illinois, that doesn't mean that the outcome to every Illinois divorce is the same. The judge in each divorce has to make critical decisions about important aspects, such as dividing up the marital assets and deciding how to allocate parental responsibilities for any minor children. Even if you have a valid prenuptial agreement or have accepted terms for the divorce, a judge will still need to review them.

Many different factors impact the final outcome of a divorce, including the length of the marriage, the contributions of each spouse, the health and future economic prospects of each spouse and the best interests of minor children from the marriage. Even in divorces with similar family situations or income levels, the outcome could vary substantially between cases.

People often exaggerate the outcome of a divorce

In order to garner sympathy from friends and family, a person who recently divorced may exaggerate the difficulty caused by child custody or asset division terms. These people may also wish to avoid admitting any responsibility, like adultery or abuse, that impacted the outcome. That can result in a story about divorce that provides inaccurate information from a skewed perspective. Taking that information to heart could result in making bad decisions in your own divorce.

Similarly, media representations of divorces often make things seem more dire or clear-cut than they are in many real world divorces. In order to increase drama and engage viewers, movies, television shows and even news reports covering high profile divorces may spin or exaggerate the story. Using such fictionalized tales as the basis for your divorce strategy could end up causing a less favorable outcome. While you do need advice and guidance, it should come from people who are actually experts and not just those with some degree of personal experience with divorce.

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