10. Not a divorce lawyer, but know a few. Here's the honest answer: basically everything. Clients always think their issues are unique, because THEY have never seen it/done it/gone through it before. Lawyers have seen basically everything. Is there some new wrinkle most times? Sure. But that's like saying dogs are common even though this one has a unique pattern of spots.
11. There are two main areas I've seen people are delusional about a divorce: Kids an Assets.
With kids, everyone screams about how much of a dick their spouse is and how the kids just absolutely hate that person. 9 times out of 10, the kids just want to move on and get back into a normal routine. They don't care a whole lot about the faults of each parent.
With assets, most people don't realize that being married really is a partnership and that there are ways other than earning income that a spouse contributes to the marital "pot". Nearly without fail, the higher-earning spouse is adamant that the court will be shocked by how little their spouse did and how there is no chance in hell their assets are going to be divided 50/50.
When I practiced family law, a large portion of my job was tamping down expectations and having to just be real with people.
12. I often receive warnings from clients about how "clever" or "smart" their spouse is and to be careful as to not let them manipulate me.
I don't want to be insulting so I just say something like "I am a professional, etc."
In reality the other spouse has never been very clever at all. They just had power over my client that they've built through long term emotional and psychological abuse. The client is usually pretty delighted to finally see their abuser get ripped to shreds in court.
(context: family lawyer working with domestic violence survivors)
13. I'm not a divorce lawyer, but I know a few of them.
-Pets! Everyone focuses on child support, but you have no idea how much acrimony is caused by who is taking the cat in the divorce. I've even heard of parents doing child-style visitation agreements and pet support.
-Spiteful things, like a wife trying to claim her ex husband's signed jersey just to burn it or whatever. This happens all the time and yet they all think that they are diabolical geniuses for wanting some asset just for the revenge value. The worst is when they tell their lawyer how much they really love that jersey and how much sentimental value it has, like they need to fool their lawyer. Your lawyer doesn't give a hoot why you want the jersey as long as you're paying him.
-Living together after divorce. Yeah, it's super weird. But a lot of couples own homes together and can't really quickly get out of that situation without simultaneously paying rent on a new place and mortgage on the old place. So they'll live together as they are divorcing and trying to sell the house, and even seeing other people. Which of course leads to more problems.
-Thinking that they have come up with some crazy new scheme that courts have never seen before that will allow them to keep everything and give their spouse nothing. And it's usually something illegal (generally hiding assets), and they've usually already started doing it.