It is a simple matter of fact that many relationships, whether married or de facto, heterosexual or same-sex, will result in a separation or divorce. There are few of us who do not know someone, be it oneself, a family member or close friend/relative, whose marriage/relationship has broken down.

However, just because it is a life crisis that so many people face, does not make one an expert!!  All too often, well-meaning family and friends think they have helpful advice for you. Now, maybe sometimes that’s true, but most often it is not.  Everybody’s experience is different and should be treated as such.

As I said, family and friends mean well. A separation/divorce can certainly be a time to lean on them for some emotional support, but it is also a time to make sure that those who advise you are skilled professionals and are objective in the situation. Family and friends are very rarely objective, because they love you. As Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself”.

Along with their support, family and friends bring with them the baggage of opinions and judgments. This inevitably colour their advice. No one walks in your shoes and has experienced your history. At the same time, almost everyone has an agenda, an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do based on how they see the world.

So, embrace the love and support your family and friends can provide if going through a separation/divorce. But if you want expert opinion on the law, seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer, even if its only once! You can at least then make an informed decision about how you wish to move forward.

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