Free advice represents one of the most expensive dangers in family law cases. Free advice comes from everywhere during a divorce. Family, friends, coworkers, and random strangers are happy to offer advice on what you should be doing. Resisting the free counsel of trusted friends and family isn’t easy. Still, avoiding free advice saves time, money, and sanity.
Your Lawyer Has a Plan
First, you and your lawyer will develop a plan for your divorce. The plan carefully factors in the facts and circumstances of your case. Important factors include the specific judge for your case, the opposing lawyer, your goals, the risk of “losing,” and more. Your well-meaning friends and family are not part of that planning process, so their input offers little value. Many crucial factors in your case exist beyond your friends’ and family’s knowledge. Their free advice consists of speculation and guesses. A competent attorney possesses actual knowledge of the whole situation and how to plan for it.
Pressure From Friends and Family Can Cost You
Second, who pays for your divorce? Most people pay their own share of the divorce. If you are paying for your divorce, why would you allow others to inject ideas that could increase the cost of your case? For example, it costs nothing for a family member to advise you to be angry about something your spouse said or did. But what if that anger affects your ability to be rational? It could cause you to blow a perfectly acceptable settlement offer from the other party in your case. Pressure from friends and family to fight harder works against settling quickly. The lure of free advice could cost you thousands in legal fees that should be avoided by settling early.
You Get What You Pay For With Free Advice
Third is a more philosophical reason to avoid “free advice.” Why is the advice free? It’s free because the person offering it does not value it. When you go to a doctor for advice on a medical issue, you expect to pay for what the doctor says. The doctor offers VALUABLE advice because of his or her education, skill, and experience. You understand that the advice you get from the doctor is based on what he or she thinks is best for you under all the facts. You also understand that you will pay money for the advice from the doctor, and the doctor will not give you the advice without payment. Also note that the most respected and specialized doctors charge the highest fees for their work.
Contrast the doctor’s advice with that of your friends and family. They freely give advice because it costs them nothing to tell you what you should do. Nor will the friend owe you anything if the advice turns out to be terrible. However, a doctor incurs liability for selling you faulty advice that makes your problem worse.
Who has a stake in giving you valuable advice in your divorce? Your lawyer! Your lawyer charges fees for advice because the advice has value to you. The lawyer earns a living selling valuable advice and counsel. Advice and counsel represents the heart of legal work. Selling legal advice and counsel is how lawyers pay their own bills. But who can afford to give you advice? Your friends and family because they do not value the advice, and nor should you. How valuable can free advice really be? If it’s free, what can it possibly be worth?
Your Friends and Family Have Their Own Agenda
Finally consider the source of the free advice. Your well-meaning friends and family likely have their own agenda. For example, they hurt on your behalf because your relationship with your spouse is over. They may be hurt on their grandchildren’s behalf so they want to take action. Do they feel personally betrayed that your spouse hurt you. Or your friend or family member may just be a vindictive person who likes to tinker with other people’s emotions. Could your free advice dealing friend be into drama? Could he or she be living vicariously through your legal case? After all, some people get a charge out of the drama of others, and they prolong the drama. There is no need to prolong a divorce just because someone else gets some emotional benefit from it.
Free advice can cost you thousands of dollars. It can also make you less happy. Stay on the plan you and your lawyer worked out, and listen to valuable advice your lawyer sells you. Do not be sucked in by “free advice” that has hidden financial and emotional costs. While legal fees can be substantial in a divorce, the cost of not having a lawyer can be much higher. When you hire a lawyer, you are represented by a professional who is educated and skilled at handling your matter. Your lawyer’s advice is VALUABLE. The “free advice” offered by your friends and family should be taken for what it is.
Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm that start their new happily ever after through divorce. We proudly offer the collaborative divorce process for our clients. This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information, contact us at (817) 601-5345, find us on the web at youngblood-law.com,