Every morning I stop at the local coffee shop to get my shot of caffeine to start the day. Over the years, coffee shops have become more than a place you run in and grab a java, and then take off. In essence, they have become the new "water cooler" where the guys sit around and talk about inane issues, from sports to politics, to cars, just to pass the time before going to do what they do to make a living. (For whatever reason, it's all guys that hang out-I don't know why-but then again, I do know-no respectful women would be found dead around us.) Actually, the place I go is a little more interesting than that-mostly because of the different personalities that sit around and shoot the "you know what". They all know what I do for a living-so I get all of the "lawyer questions"-especially those relating to divorces. Some questions are more colorful than others, some just more crassly put because of the subject matter. Well come on, we are talking about "divorce" around men. (I'll spare you from hearing this diatribe next time I talk about the Coffee Shop (CS), but this is my introduction of the CS to the blogosphere so it's necessary).
Let's face it, sometimes divorces seem like scenes from Mario Puzo's epic- "The Godfather". Yes, maybe there is no bloodshed-like Sonny being riddled with bullets-or Clemenza choking Paulie to death from the back seat of the car-"don't forget the cannolis". But, it seems, at time, the hate between the warring Mafia families and the warring spouses is just as intense. Say what you will about the "Godfather" movie-whether you like it or not-there is much to be learned on how to handle yourself when the families are warring.
At some point during Divorce proceedings, the parties and their Counsels must deal with the division of the marital estate or equitable distribution. Pennsylvania lawyers know that the marital estate is generally defined as that property that the parties obtain during the marriage and before separation. There are certain exclusions such as inheritances or gifts, but generally it is the property obtained plus any increase in value of property brought into the marriage.
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?"
The hardest question for a Pennsylvania Divorce Lawyer is determining whether or not a divorce case should be settled or go to trial. In a recent article in the Huffington Post.com, entitled," WHAT DO DIVORCE LAWYERS DO IN THEIR OWN DIVORCES", J Richard Kulerski and Kari Cornelison state that the vast majority of lawyers would "try to stay out of (Divorce) court". They state that "despite any perceived advantage they are believed to have, they do everything they can to settle their case before they reach the court system" because they think going to court is a losing proposition. Their reasoning is that taking the case to court is a counter-productive force that destroys their chance of achieving a healthy negotiating climate. Although I agree that settlement is generally better than fighting it out in Court, sometimes it's just the correct approach and sometimes you do not have an alternative.