Divorce Lawyers Share The Most Common Traits That Couples Say Are Unique To Them.
While every divorce is unique to itself, there's a lot of common ground between them all.
Below are common points that divorce lawyers who share the most common things that most couples think are unique to them.
1. Paralegal here. When cheating is involved, the client will often bring in mountains of photographs, text message printouts, bank statements showing where cash was withdrawn, etc. They neeeeeed me to understand how awful this is and they want me to go stakeout their soon to be cheating ex. Cheating is insanely common.
My standard reply is always: "Yes, I understand. Yes, I have seen hundreds of pictures and thousands of text messages. Yes, he/she is terrible for doing this to you...". This is always met with, "But you don't understand, this is the worst thing that has ever happened."
Trust me. I understand. You are coming to see me on your worst day ever. I will be sure that the attorney understands your file inside and out, but you aren't going to shock us, and I am not Facebook stalking your soon to be ex. Well, I might, just for fun, but I won't go on a stakeout with you.
2. I met a divorce lawyer in India and you know what's unique for a divorce lawyer in India? Divorce! The profession didn't really exist until about fifteen years ago, and even now it's very difficult convincing people that they really do need a divorce because it's so shameful in the culture.
3. My mom's a divorce lawyer and I asked her, and she said that most people who she works with seem to think they are unique with "how much of an jerk their ex is"
4. Twenty six years in law practice and 15 of those doing domestic relations cases and now I finally get to say with authority: They think their spouse is the worst ever and that their divorce is the most difficult ever. My most common answer to their on and on rants came to be: "This is costing you about $5 a minute and we can make better use of my time. Besides, you're the one who married him."
5. Not so much about what do my clients think is unique, but something I've noticed: Only the rarest of the rare client can understand how they are super illogical when it comes to their divorce.
Divorce isn't rocket surgery, but almost everyone tries to make it that way.
6. Family attorney
Everything is practically the same. Money, kids, earnings, allegations - nothing is unique.
If you can put away your bullcrap and relish the fact that you are no longer going to be with this person you don't want to be with, let's make it easy. I've had complex divorces go super easy, and I've had simple ones drag on for years out of spite.
Listen. To. Your. Attorney. You know what a good attorney does if he finds himself in a legal predicament? Gets an attorney. You're paying for his experience in the system.
Almost guaranteed, if you go to trial, you will leave with less than you hoped for. You can 99% of the time get something better and cheaper if you agree.
We don't want your case any longer than you do. If you have unrealistic goals and refuse to listen to our counsel, we will gladly bill you for the time. Most calls between attorneys start out "what does your client want to do?" followed by, "I've told my client this but they want to do that". 90% of the time I know and the other attorney will know exactly how the court is going to rule. I have had countless hearings where we should have everything settled, one side won't agree, and we'll go and tell the judge the impasse and that we're gonna put on this little bit of testimony and let the judge rule. Congrats, that's three hours billable.
If you are going to trial: in most places, family law is like a weird office setting. It's the same attorneys interacting with each other on a weekly to daily basis. Same with the judges. I inform my clients they are to be respectful of the other attorney and the entire court staff. These are people I have ongoing business relationships with. If you see me having a friendly conversation with the other attorney prior to the hearing or even during a recess, we are not conspiring against you or just trying to milk you for all you have. Same thing, if you see the other attorney speaking with the judge, don't assume you are getting the shaft - they are likely social with the judge outside the courtroom, like I am. If you have dedicated family judge, and your attorney isn't on a good relationship with them, find another one.
And please don't call me. If you have an emergency, talk to my assistant. She will determine if it is an emergency. It likely isn't. I will call you by the end of tomorrow.
7. Asked a friend about this once.
He said how many people come in peacefully together. It's not the big standard and it's not everyone, but it happens "way more than you'd expect". Both spouses just want the divorce and to move on, apparently it happens quite a bit. He said that sometimes they'll devolve into... (Continued)
They'll devolve into a bit of a battle over assets, rarely kids, but more often than not if a couple comes in together he has a bad day because he makes the least money off of them.
He said one couple, collectively after their divorce, sent him a Christmas basket one year... Basically they wanted out and he helped navigate the legalities of it, and everyone was happy...
He also had a story of a woman who had to consult with two private investigators for her husband cheating. The first one she hired was the woman he was having an affair with.
8. At least in Maryland people assume because the spouse was cheating they will be able to get more money in alimony from the judge then they would have gotten otherwise.
9. Father is a divorce lawyer.
He says that every single man that comes in initiating a divorce says the same thing "Well, it happened to me, I don't know how, but she's not sleeping with me anymore, should I just divorce her?"
And he said they are always all blown away when he tells them that is the single most common reason why men initiate divorce, like, they think they are 1 in a million, but it's basically all of them.
I've asked him before:
Women generally initiate divorce due to lack of income,he cheated on her, or he hit her or the kid(s).
Men generally initiate divorce due to lack of sex, wife cheated, or the wife hit husband or kid(s).
He said the 2nd two on each one are pretty rare, that it's mostly just the first ones.
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.
14. Mine is actually so bad that the lawyers always tell me she's the worst they've ever seen. No kidding.
Heres a taste:
Over two dozen calls with false reports to child protective services. All false and cleared every time, but still have to pay for representation.
Over a dozen lawsuits and protective orders attempted in first year alone. Won all of them, but had to pay for representation.
Called adult protective services on me claiming I could handle my basic needs. this was at least very easy to fight.
Gets gross about 4k a month in child support, just uses it in schemes to get at me
Married my mentally ill only brother in order to put stress on entire extended family and never let me get away from her.
"Anonymous tip" to FBI, had all my electronics raided and taken. Never heard from again after 2 years. Warrant was on house I had just moved into, didn't even have my name on it. Very traumatizing.
Had to sell off my company, so went broke.
Tires are consistently slashed.
Multiple police reports called (twice in one day once) that I had kidnapped my own kids that were with me - have to keep multiple copies of divorce papers everywhere I go.
And thats not even close to half of it.
Also, SHE divorced ME because she got pregnant by some jerk she was having an affair with.
15. I'm a legal assistant for a family law attorney. The amount of clients that tell me they want full custody of their kids and actually think they have a shot at getting it is astonishing. I don't think I've ever seen a party get all of their custodial rights taken away from them. Also, clients seem to think that their spouse cheating on them will give them the upper hand in front of a judge. California is a no fault state, so the judge couldn't care less if your husband or wife cheated on you. No, it's not going to get you more spousal support, no, it's not going to get you a bigger share of custody. The judge might think they're a jerk but that's about it. Clients also seem to think that things should be happening overnight. The courts don't work like that.
Having an attorney isn't cheap, and people try to take advantage of us left and right when it comes to their bills because they don't agree with what we're charging them for, even though all of that information is listed in their retainer agreement.
16. -That being hostile, stubborn, or argumentative is going to somehow benefit them during the divorce proceedings. The opposite is true. Yes, divorce is an emotional process and feelings are always going to be a part of it, but the more willing that the parties are willing to work with each other, the better the outcome will be for everyone involved.
-Also, unless you live in certain states, it does not matter to the court the reason you are getting a divorce. Your partner could have cheated on you for 5 years, or squandered all of the family savings on booze and hookers, in a no-fault state, like California, it makes no difference whether you are the side in the wrong.
-'You can do it yourself'.
I can't count how many cases that I've had to clean up because people have tried to do the divorce themselves. Consider that if you had pretty serious medical problem, you wouldn't try to cut yourself open and fix it yourself, but people seem to think that even though they're still amicable with their STBX's that they're able to handle a serious legal issue such as divorce on their own.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.