Most people understand that the divorce process can be very traumatic. Divorce involves some of the most important aspects of a person’s life: an unwinding of a commitment to another person for life, a person’s finances and, if they have them, what may be the most important thing in someone’s life, their children.

While the parties may have been planning or thinking about a divorce for some time, a divorce does not start until legal paperwork is filed in Court. What leads up to that filing, however, can affect dramatically, positively or negatively, how someone going through divorce deals with the process. The following tips help insure how to get the best divorce advice prior to even filing for divorce.

One of the critical elements in how successfully one navigates through the divorce process is the expectation on the front end. Oftentimes, those expectations are contributed to, or even a result of, “advice” from people who, while perhaps well-intentioned, are not qualified to give the advice they offer.

Emotional support is not only important, but critical during the divorce process. However, it is also crucial during the time prior to the actual filing of divorce paperwork. This said, well-intentioned support in the form of “advice” leading up to divorce oftentimes leads to more heartache, difficulty and many times thousands – or even tens of thousands – of dollars in otherwise unnecessary attorney’s fees. Accordingly, receiving competent legal advice so that one has reasonable expectations going into the divorce process is important. Understanding the facts and law will help shape how a person perceives the divorce process and the expected results.

A simplified example of unrealistic expectations resulting in unhappiness follows. Let us say that there is a situation in which the realistic result is you receiving $100. If someone tells you in advance that you should expect to receive $200 and you receive $100, you may be very disappointed. On the other hand if someone tells you in advance a reasonable result is $50 and you receive $100, you are pleased. Further, if you had been advised that a reasonable range of expectations is between $75 and $125 and you receive $100, you would understand the result is within reason and be satisfied with it.

The result is the same. You received $100. The way you feel about it is very different based on the expectations generated in advance of it.

Well-meaning friends, and even family members, who are not lawyers oftentimes give “well-intentioned support” in the way of advice to someone who is about to go through a divorce concerning what that person should expect. Inaccurate evaluations of what to expect as a reasonable result can cause a person to have unrealistic expectations before the process is even started and before they have ever even met with a lawyer who can give them a reasonable range of expectations.

The divorce process is difficult enough as it is. Starting off with unrealistic expectations makes more heartache, unhappiness and perhaps higher legal bills in all probability during an already painful process. Understanding how to set reasonable expectations based on sound legal advice from an experienced practitioner ensures a person starts the divorce process with a firm footing on reality based on carefully crafted legal advice and experience. Reasonable expectations, therefore, are much more likely to result in reasonable results.