The best paid divorce lawyers are the ones that get very aggressive, and downright hostile sometimes, towards the soon to be ex-spouse. They use a harsh tone of voice and demeaning terms whenever they are in court or even in mediation (at least when their client is watching). This is an odd thing on the surface since judges tire of such antics and are not swayed by emotional ploys. They are far more concerned in finding some reasonable solution than figuring out which of the spouses is the most messed up (by the way, you are pretty much just as messed up as whomever you are divorcing, just in a different way – and the judge knows that. Seriously – why else did you marry him or her to begin with?). It is an even greater oddity in mediation. Such tactics practically guarantee that negotiations will fail.
So, why do these lawyers resort to such psychological assaults? Well, the most cynical answer is that it pays! People in divorces are likely at the angriest point in their lives and all that anger is focused on the one person they are convinced has ruined their life. And yet, they are now separated from the object of their wrath and under the scrutiny of the court so that they cannot cut loose on the other party as they would like to. Instead, they get the vicarious release of seeing their lawyer say hurtful, nasty things – AND IN PUBLIC TOO! It becomes worth every penny of the $250 to $300 an hour fee. And, since negotiations break down, they get to see the show over and over again at the court’s motion hour. That is, until the money runs out. Suddenly the tune changes and it is time to either come up with another large retainer or begin to settle for less that destroying your spouse’s entire life.
When it is all said and done and the money that would have paid for your children’s college has been spent – what it left? Bitterness. That’s all, just bitterness. Nothing was really resolved and there are a whole set of fresh injuries to nurse and brood upon. So, if you want an expensive divorce – get an aggressive attorney. If, however, you want to get on with your life, be able to take a vacation, and experience some semblance of peace – find a lawyer that believes in resolving conflict rather than profiting from it.