If your marriage is breaking up, it was because of something negative. Either you, your spouse, or both of you do not believe you are compatible anymore. You might have a positive outlook on this, but the source is negative. That's the truth. Your soon to be ex is no longer your friend. What that means is this:
Do not sacrifice any of your legal rights or positions so as to appear nice or reasonable. Courts do not give extra credit for being a people pleaser or to be blunt, a dumb sap. Do not fail to file a Response because you don't want a fight or because you don't trust lawyers.
There is a stated policy in the law favoring settlement. For many lay people, that means being a dumb sap - see above. For us lawyers, it means preparing for trial and representing our clients zealously and ethically. It means that once all of the preparation work is done, then we talk settlement and try to resolve the case consistent with the public policy favoring settlements. You can do this and still be nice. It does not mean giving up, giving in or surrendering. Be nice, but not too nice. Conduct your divorce like a business. When you work a business, you are in it to make a profit or to make the business grow. Other than as a loss leader, you do not give away free stuff. Don't do it in your divorce. If you are entitled to spousal support, use that leverage. If you are entitled to a reimbursement, likewise, use the leverage. Get a good settlement for yourself or go to trial. You can do both of those things and still be nice.
There are 8 types of cases:
Divorce: This is when you are married to someone and one of you wishes to terminate the marriage. This can involve a division of assets and debts, confirmation of property acquired prior to marriage or by gift or inheritance (otherwise known as separate property). It can also involve issues relating to child custody, child support and spousal support.
Paternity: When you have children with another person who is not your spouse. In this case, the Court has the power to issue child custody and child support orders.
Child Custody Matters: These types of matters involve where the children are going to live and how their time is to be spent with the parties. Child Custody litigation occurs when the parents cannot agree on issues pertaining to the health, education and welfare of the children or when they cannot agree on a parenting schedule.
Move Away Cases: These are ugly. These usually occur when one of the parents wants to move with the children far enough away where contact between the children and the other parent is severely affected.
Spousal Support:Where one party asks the Court to order the other party to support him/her.
Prenuptial Agreements: Prior to getting married, you and your fiancee' can enter into an agreement as to how your property is divided in case you find yourself getting a divorce in Pennsylvania.
Post Nuptial Agreements:During marriage, you can enter into an agreement as to how you can divide your property in the event of divorce, but you need to be really careful with these. They are not the same as prenuptial agreements. I know how to draft Post Nuptial Agreements which are bulletproof.
Legal Malpractice: If you come to me and I see that your former attorney was negligent and you were damaged as a result, I can help you sue for professional negligence.