I was recently speaking to a friend of mine who is also a Pittsburgh divorce lawyer and who said to me – “Does any side really win in divorce?”
Let’s start with this-success, in anything, is a function of one’s expectations. For example, if you are the Pittsburgh Steelers, no season is a success unless you win the Super Bowl because their expectations and their fans’ expectations start so high. The same can be said about the New York Yankees. Other teams, who have had a horrible history of success, would be ecstatic to even reach the Super Bowl or the Worlds Series. The Steelers and Yankees, on the other hand, had a horrible season if they do not win it all.
Success, or “winning” in a divorce case, much like sports, is based on your client’s expectations. Accordingly, as an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney, one of the very first things I do is lay out the realistic parameters of success in each case. Some cases reek of opportunity. The stay at home spouse has been given about $200 dollars a month throughout the 30 year marriage and the CEO husband told her that she’ll get “nothing” in the divorce. She comes into me and her expectations are woefully low. In these cases, even the most conservative evaluation nets more than she ever expected. But, in the case of the client that comes in and says “I just want 80% of the assets, all of his pension and alimony until I die”, well, this client is going to be disappointed. The Courts do really try to be “equitable” in equitable distribution. Accordingly, their decisions, generally, are never just one sided-benefitting one individual more than another-even though it might feel that way.
As a practical matter, you want a Pittsburgh divorce attorney that is going be truthful to you from the very beginning of the process. Winning is a relative concept in divorces. With the right mind frame-an otherwise intolerable decision, might just be acceptable-which allows you to move peaceably on with your life.