One of the most fitting quotes about winning in divorce comes from the character Gavin D’Amato (Danny DeVito) in the movie The War of the Roses, in which he says, “There is no winning, only degrees of losing.”
Most people have the idea that it is possible to “win” if you hire an aggressive divorce attorney or “fight” hard enough. They have gotten this idea from Hollywood or from their friends. You should realize that these are probably the two worst sources of information for those involved in a divorce in real time and in the real world. The actress Ellen Barkin reportedly received $20 million in her divorce from investor Ronald Perelman. Your neighbor’s cousin may have gotten three homes and the family dog in his divorce. Your college roommate may have walked away with total custody of the children. All of this has nothing whatsoever to do with your case.
Frequently people going through a divorce get loaded up with “advice” from friends, gained either through their own experience or through a too-close reading of People Magazine. They are advised not to pursue a job during the divorce as a way of “guaranteeing” higher support; or to quit their job, as a way of cutting down support payments. Friends tell them to leave town with their children, to clear out joint bank accounts, or to fabricate stories of abuse and neglect. One of the most common, and worst, pieces of advice from friends and family is, “Go for the jugular — take all the money!” This is not only unhelpful, it is virtually impossible in today’s world of divorce and family law.
As Gavin D’Amato made abundantly clear, no one will ever feel like they got everything they deserved. The key to a “successful” divorce is to get through it as unscathed as possible. That means you need to set aside your inclination to fight, avoid bad advice from friends, family and so-called “bull dog” lawyers, and simply try to get to a fair and impartial resolution. Forget about hiring and aggressive divorce attorney. Think mediation.