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Should you trust friends and family when you're looking for financial advice in a divorce?

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We recently came across an article from Mint that offered various tips from financial experts in a divorce. While we always advise each client to work with a financial advisor who knows his or her personal finances as well as what's happening with the divorce, we came across an interesting item we wanted to share for discussion's sake. 

The quote in question was in a section titled, "You Can Safely Forget Financial Advice from Friends and Coworkers," and included this:

Once people discover you're going through a divorce, they will inundate you with advice. Divorce is such a common, overwhelming life event that people tend to overshare about what they went through, and mostly what this does is make the speaker feel better about his or her situation.

The article then goes on to note the point we made in the opening: Your situation is unique to you. A friend or family member may suggest something that worked in a divorce from a few years ago, but there might be some core difference in that person's situation from yours that would prevent you from taking that advice. 

It's also entirely possible that the law has changed in the interim from whatever a friend or family member did and is now recommending to you. Financial professionals can tell you if something your brother-in-law did with a tax filing in 2016 still applies now to anyone -- let alone if it's a suggestion that applies to you and your situation. 

One thing the article didn't mention, but is definitely a factor in why you shouldn't trust friends and family with financial advice in a divorce, is because you friends and family do want to help you. In wanting to help you, they might suggest anything they can think of just to be helpful, even if it's not something that a financial advisor would suggest to you. 

The advantage of a financial advisor working with your lawyer, in addition to the expertise he or she brings to the table, is the emotion that he or she doesn't bring to the table. A financial advisor who is able to dispassionately and professionally look at your situation and the law, and who is working in tandem with your lawyer, is what you need to make the best decisions about finances. 

You don't necessarily need a financial advisor to weigh in your divorce. If you have a relatively simple marital estate, and you have a lawyer who is knowledgable about finances and divorce, it's possible that the advice your lawyer brings to the table will be enough to guide you to a decree that works for you. 

However, if there's a level of complexity in your finances that makes a financial planner a good idea, and you have a lawyer looking out after your best interests in your divorce, it's likely that your lawyer will suggest bringing a financial professional into the divorce team. There are just some divorces that call for a financial professional -- and there aren't any divorces that call for friends and family to dispense financial advice, no matter how well-meaning they might be. 

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