One of the smartest lawyers I've ever known told me, “Divorce often comes down to the pink plastic vase in the bathroom.” This, of course, means that often in this process, pettiness rules. I laughed at this then. But now I know it's true, having been through hundreds of divorces of friends, clients, and family. I have seven first cousins and my only sister: all of them have been divorced. There's no guarantee of anything in life, but this seems like a singular family achievement. Part of it, I think, is an old family attitude of ours that implied, “No one is ever going to be good enough for you.” Probably not a great concept to stick in the minds of your children. I had a best friend who told me, “My sister married a man who made TV commercials. They did not have a great relationship. And my sister talks to our mother 14 times a day. My wife is a hot ticket. She tells me, ‘Your mother and your sister treat Robert like a temp, like someone who's been sent over by Manpower.”’

(The marriage didn't last.)

I live in a state that basically gives you a 50–50 split of assets in any divorce. An interesting statistic, considering that as many as 50 percent of all marriages still end in divorce. If you're on this sad path yourselves, here are a few things to consider: thoughts from several first-class divorce lawyers, two men, one woman. This chapter is really about containing your costs in this pitiful procedure.

First of all, after your almost-two-year slog ...

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