One of the first things many clients ask me is whether I’m a “pit bull” lawyer. I usually respond that I like to think of myself as a chess player. Pit bulls attack randomly. They focus on injuring and instant gratification. Chess players are clear-headed and focus on the end result. What follows is a comparison of the two styles.
Scenario 1: Husband goes to Pit Bull for a divorce. Husband is angry at Wife because he just found out she has been cheating on him. He wants sole custody of the children, all marital assets and anything else he can get. He also wants to lock Wife out of the house.
After listening to husband’s story, Pit Bull obeys Husband’s wishes by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) accusing Wife of infidelity. Pit Bull does not explain to Husband the consequences of taking a confrontational approach in this delicate matter.After being served with the divorce papers at work, angry Wife goes home. She is locked out.
A vicious argument between Husband and Wife ensues. There is pushing and screaming. The police is called. Husband is arrested and ends up with an Order of Protection against him. The Order of Protection requires Husband to move out of the house, pay Wife maintenance and child support. Wife is awarded sole custody of the children.
Now, it will be an uphill battle for Husband to get the reasonable divorce settlement he might have reached if he had not used such aggressive tactics.
End result: An unnecessarily long, painful and expensive divorce.
Scenario 2: Same as above, only Husband hires a lawyer named “Chess.”
Chess advises Husband that infidelity does not affect the distribution of marital property, child custody or maintenance. Also, Chess tells Husband he cannot lock wife out of the marital home.
Chess and Husband discuss Husband’s vision for his future. They discuss his career, life and financial goals. With these goals in mind Chess and Husband device a strategy for the divorce.
After the meeting with Chess, Husband goes home to Wife and tells her that he believes the marriage cannot be fixed. Wife and Husband reach an agreement as to who should move out of the marital home.
After Husband and Wife are no longer living together, Chess drafts a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage citing “Irreconcilable Differences.” Husband personally gives Wife the Petition. Wife is relieved that her indiscretions are not disclosed in the Petition.
When it comes time to decide the custody of the children and separation of marital assets, Husband and Wife sit down at the kitchen table. Wife is grateful that Husband has behaved so well despite her hurtful behavior. She is more generous toward Husband than necessary.
The agreement reached is fair to Husband, Wife and the children. Chess reviews the agreement and drafts it in legal format. Soon after, Wife and Husband go in front of a judge and get divorced.
By focusing on the end result, Husband achieved the best possible outcome for himself and the children. He has also avoided the unnecessary stress of a bitter divorce.
End Result: A quick, fair, simple and cheap divorce.