Clients often compare their divorce to the divorce of a relative, friend or even unknown parties discussed in an article found online. Comparing one matrimonial matter to another person's case can often lead to unrealistic expectations.
Each domestic matter is different and dependent on the specific facts and circumstances of that case. As much as you think you may know about a person's family law case, there are important factors and details that have likely not been shared. Many times, you are only hearing a portion of one side of the story. You cannot count on the resolution of one case, or even a few cases, to determine how your case should resolve. Relying on the outcome of other divorce cases will only lead to unrealistic expectations. It is essential that a client have realistic expectations, as difficult as that may be. In the end, this will help the client to accept the ultimate resolution and often limit the amount of litigation.
Information and stories that you read online are, in most circumstances, unreliable. It is very difficult to fact check information that you find on the internet. Therefore, information found online regarding divorce, custody and support matters should be taken with a grain of salt. While there may be some useful information online, a lot of information is factually incorrect. Also, certain types of online information, such as blogs, are posted by people to express opinions or emotions without any regard for factual accuracy.
The laws and rules regarding family law matters including divorce -vary greatly from state to state and, sometimes, even within a state. In Pennsylvania, the divorce code sets forth lists of specific factors that the court must consider in resolving an individual's divorce matter. A case outside of Pennsylvania is determined based upon laws that may be significantly different than the divorce laws in Pennsylvania. As a result, a case with similar facts in Pennsylvania and in another state can have a drastically different resolution. Even among the different counties in Pennsylvania, there are varying results. For example, courts in some counties award alimony infrequently while in other counties awards of alimony are commonplace.
You are hiring an attorney for their experience and knowledge of the law. Your friends, relatives and online resources do not offer this. If you do not understand why your case is resolving a certain way, ask your attorney to provide an explanation. In many situations, based upon our knowledge of the law as well as our past experiences, we can explain the trends that we are seeing in court to anticipate the overall resolution if the case proceeds to a hearing rather than settling. It is important that you are informed and understand your case. However, you must also understand that the outcome of your case is not going to be determined based upon how someone else's case resolved but based on the specific facts and circumstances of your individual matter.