Getting divorced can be a harrowing experience.
Most people have never gone through one before, and they’re in the dark on the nitty-gritty details it can entail. Not to mention, emotions are likely running high if you find yourself exploring this option.
But the more you know ahead of time, the easier the already-sensitive process will be.
Jacqueline Newman, a managing partner at a top New York City divorce law firm, says there’s an important lesson she wishes her clients didn’t have to learn the hard way: The judge absolutely does not care about your personal drama.
“You have a lot of people who have been keeping every love note and taking pictures on everyone’s phones of all the sexy texts, and thinking that this is going to be this whole big thing,” she told Business Insider. “They come into my office with all their proof of this affair, and they’re like, ‘Wait ’til the judge sees this!’ And I’m like, ‘Not only will the judge not see this, but if they did, they wouldn’t even blink.'”
For the parties involved, divorce proceedings are all about the tough, emotional details that caused their marriage to crumble. But to a judge, it’s business, another day on the job. The court doesn’t care if your husband slept with your best friend or if you caught your wife sneaking off to meet another man at motel — and that can be a difficult pill to swallow.
Stanley Corey, a certified financial planner and managing director at United Capital in Great Falls, Virginia, reiterates Newman’s point.
“A judge is going to care more about a good financial statement than a picture of someone going out of a motel,” he told Business Insider. “It all comes down to the basics of the dollars and cents.”
There are a few exceptions, however. One is if one spouse spent a significant amount of money over the course of an affair, according to Newman. We’re not talking hotel rooms or nice dinners, but diamond rings and trips to Paris. If it impacts the financial side of things, it matters.
The other exception is if one person did something truly egregious — but don’t bank on your story qualifying.
“It has to shock the court,” Newman says. “And I can tell you from experience that it takes a hell of a lot to shock the court.”