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Why your friend's divorce outcome may not necessarily be yours

Some people are hesitant to divorce because of bad things that happened to their friend who divorced. Similarly, some people may go into a divorce overconfident or with erroneous assumptions because of how "well" their friend came out in their own proceeding last year.

However, the reality is that each divorce case is unique. Even if the particulars and the nuances seem the same, it takes just one small difference to make for a drastic change in outcomes. Suppose you and your friend were both married 11 years and have two children apiece, both ages 7 and 5. Furthermore, you both own your businesses, have similar incomes and have second homes. That is a lot of similarities, right? It stands to reason that your friend's outcome should be a good predictor of yours. Not really, and here is a look at some reasons why.

Different players

Perhaps most importantly are the different players and personalities involved. Most likely, the lawyers, mediators and judges are different, and for sure, you and your spouse are different from your friend and his or her ex-spouse. One spouse may be more willing to negotiate and compromise while another also seems amenable but has one or two issues that he or she is firm about.

Cause(s) of divorce

The cause of the divorce can also play a big role in how well the divorce goes. If you two simply drifted apart and are on the same page about divorce, the process could be smoother. However, if one of you sees the other as the "bad guy," that could make for challenging negotiations. Causes of divorce are rarely clear-cut and easy to identify, and what you think caused your friend's divorce or what your friend told you happened might not actually be a cause. It could be a symptom of the cause, perhaps.

Just one or two differing particulars

All it takes is one nuance that is different for two situations to become drastically incomparable. For example, maybe your friend's spouse had an inheritance that made it unnecessary for there to be alimony payments. Or perhaps you were married seven years while your friend was married 11 years. These four years can be significant even if all the other numbers line up similarly.

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