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Walking the Divorce Tightrope. Be Nice, But Not Too Nice

Here is the straight dope.

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.