Whether you are pro se or are able to hire a lawyer, the degree to which you are able to achieve success in your divorce case depends entirely on your plan. Decide early on what issues are important to you, and figure out what you need to give up or show in order to have those issues decided in your favor. Be realistic in setting your expectations, but also be clear and concise about what you want. Lawyers often gain a reputation of being able to “game the system” because they know various tricks that non-lawyers don’t know, but often it comes down to having a clearer picture of what is important to his/her client and being able to effectively argue for those things. If you take the time to plan as thoroughly as you can, and you conduct yourself in a calm and respectful manner and keep a positive attitude, you will probably surprise yourself at how effective you really can be.