When you first decide to get divorced, or when your spouse files for a divorce, your instinct may be to ask any friends who have been through it what advice they have. What did they do? How did it go? What did they learn that may help you?

This advice may help in some situations, but be very careful about asking for advice from someone who is not a lawyer. Those who have been through it note that every divorce is unique. It is different. It has its own factors. You can’t assume that it will go the same way for you. 

For instance, maybe your friend had a quick divorce through mediation and it only took a few weeks. They may tell you that you can end the marriage relatively quickly. When you wind up in court and it takes a year to sort everything out, was your friend wrong? Of course not. But the process for you was just far different. Heading into your divorce, you need to be ready for that. 

You also have to consider the aspects that make your life unique. How many children do you have? How much do you earn? Do you both work? How long have you been married? What assets do you own? How much debt do you have? Even if you and your friend are very similar, the answers to these questions are probably much different for everyone.

As you’re looking to get the divorce process started, the most help you’re going to get is from an experienced legal professional who has seen it all before. Make sure that you learn as much as you can to make the divorce go smoothly.