The Perils of Divorce Advice

By Attorney Gregg Herman
August 21, 2012

Thank you to my friend Phil Tucker from Oklahoma for posting a link on Facebook to an interesting article on what people will tell you about divorce.

I’m not going to comment on the parts about sex (although one of the side benefits of a divorce lawyer is getting to hear some interesting stories…).  The part that interests me is about the friends giving advice.

In today’s world, people get information from all over – including Facebook, internet searches and mostly friends and family.  Since family law is almost entirely based on individual state law (and sometimes even by the practice in a certain county within the state), much of the information is simply wrong.

Of more importance is not the information, but the strategy recommendations from friends and family.  For some reason (I have some theories, but that will have to wait for a future blog), most of the advice from friends and family is more aggressive than the advice I would give.

For example, many clients have told me that they have been advised to close accounts and even to hide money.  This advice is coming from people who would never do a criminal act themselves, but they advise friends and family to commit perjury or fraud.

Often the advice is less egregious and is given with the best of intentions.  But, it is not often the best advice.

I used to chafe when clients would tell me about the other advice they are getting.  I stopped chaffing when I realized that it wouldn’t do any good.  Now, I refer to these friends and family members as my co-counsel!

And, sometimes, their advice is worthwhile.  Not often, but it has happened.  So, I listen to it and consider it.   Then I tell the client that if they see two doctors and they recommend two different medications, would they chose one course of treatment or take a little bit of both?  The best odds are in a consistent course of action, rather than mixing-and-matching different strategies.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman, LLC in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.