Television shows and movies are wonderful things. They bring fantasies to life, educate us, entertain us and help us forget about life for a while. Problems arise when you begin to believe that what is happening on television shows or in the movies is real life (leaving aside so-called "reality" shows).
Many of my clients are going through a terrible time. As hard as it may be to accept, Pennsylvania is a no-fault divorce state. What that means (mostly) is, if your spouse has done some not-so-great things, there may not be a legal remedy. And that stinks. It's difficult to hear bad news and it's not fun to deliver, either. We all want to believe in the inherent fairness of the court system. The court looks at its role in the divorce process as a mechanism to divide up property without emotion. The court does not believe its role is to make up for the fact that you married someone who has less than desirable characteristics, whatever you perceive those characteristics to be.
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. What that means is, not necessarily 50/50 but "equitable". What does equitable mean? Does it mean "fair"? Depends on each individual case. Are there children? What is your health status? Did you give up your career to help put your spouse through school? Is your spouse about to receive a huge inheritance? All of these things can influence an equitable distribution hearing and outcome. The court mostly looks at what has happened since you separated or a year before that but not much more. Things that happened years ago are not very relevant. Your attorney is on your side, but he or she cannot make the court do something it was never meant to do. It is important to remember also that you never "have to" go to court; you and your spouse can potentially work everything out on your own, with an attorney's assistance in preparing the legal paperwork.