Til death do us part? Nope. These people got out of their toxic marriages, and got out fast—and their lawyers were witness to all their ridiculous antics. Grab some popcorn, ’cause these stories deliver on the drama.
1. Drop the Digits and Your Spouse
I knew a guy who lost his own cell phone number in the divorce. He’d used the same number since high school, but she convinced the judge that she used his phone enough to get his number. Basically, he kept his clothes and car and had to pay alimony.
2. Divorcing Scrooge
My client was the outrageous one in this story, and my heart went out to his poor wife. My client had OCD which manifested primarily in the family finances. He made their lives a penny-pinching nightmare. For example, he was obsessed with avoiding unnecessary driving, so he cut the whole family’s hair at home and never let them eat at a restaurant or go to the movies. That wasn’t even the strangest thing.
Weirdest of all, he kept one toilet paper roll on him at all times, and you had to get one square from him before you could go to the bathroom. He never gave more than one square. His wife finally got tired of him and left him when he gave her bangs during an in-home haircut. Even their daughter was so traumatized by the whole toilet paper thing they couldn’t potty train her.
Being such a miser, he viewed my whole job as a divorce attorney as an unnecessary expense.
3. If You Don’t Have Anything Good to Say, It’s Less Expensive to Stay Silent
I represented a woman whose husband had attacked her with what was essentially a broomstick, but instead of a broom at the end, there was a metal scrub brush. When the time came for trial, I figured the other attorney (an old professor of mine) was going to ask for and get a continuance. Why? Because there were pending charges for the assault, and the guy can’t just remain silent in civil court as he can in regular court.
If you refuse to answer a question in civil court, the court can take a negative inference against you. When the husband’s lawyer and I were talking prior to the hearing, he told me he was going to have the hearing today unless I was willing to drop the alimony claim. I think he took my questioning him if he wanted a continuance as an indication that I was unprepared.
Since I was prepared, I told him I was going to have the hearing, and that his client was going to be my first witness. Husband’s attorney said his client would plead the fifth, and I told him the chancellor (judge) would take a negative inference if he did. Husband’s attorney said, “The chancellor will do what the chancellor will do,” clearly trying to intimidate me into backing down on alimony.
So, when the hearing starts, the husband’s attorney is looking a little miffed that I’m still pushing for alimony, and at this point, I have an assistant bring in the broken weapon used to attack my client. The wooden handle stood propped next to my desk and the scrub brush lay on it. I called husband as my first witness.
Husband’s attorney jumps up and objects that this is improper and that I have to call my client first. I tell the chancellor I’ll respond when he cites a rule (there is no such rule in this court). The chancellor smiled, turned to husband’s attorney, and asked him which rule he’s referring to. He withdraws his objection and then says his client is pleading the fifth.
I respond that this is fine, but that his client still needs to take the stand so he can invoke that on each individual question he doesn’t want to answer, so the court knows where to take a negative inference against him. The chancellor sides with me, and the husband takes the stand. So, after my warm-up questions, I ask the husband what happened on x date (the night of the assault). He contends wife had driven donuts in the yard he had been working on, and that she then got out of the car and started swearing at him.
I kept asking him if it made him angry, but he wouldn’t say it…at first. I asked him “Did you take that lying down?” I figured at this point he’d plead the fifth and I’ll get my negative inference and move on, but before his lawyer can jump up to do so, the husband answers…and I knew I’d ventured into slam dunk territory. He answered, “Of course not, I hit her!” So I continued the line of questioning and asked what he hit her with.
He identified the metal scrubber he’d used as a weapon. I asked how many times he hit her, and he replied: “I hit her until she got the point. Probably three or four times.” His lawyer is literally facepalming at this point. Next, I asked him: “You hit her hard enough that the end broke off, didn’t you (I’m holding up the metal scrubber)?” That’s when he turned to his lawyer and asked: “Is this where I’m supposed to say I don’t want to answer ’cause of my other court case?”
Needless to say, my client got her alimony.
4. “X” Marks The Spot…
I worked a divorce case that went to trial. The parties owned a business together, which they started during the marriage and which was their sole source of income. Obviously, the biggest issue was who was going to keep the business. While the divorce proceeded, the General Magistrate ordered my client to keep running the business and to pay the wife temporary alimony. If only it had ended then.
At trial, we went in front of a judge instead of the General Magistrate. This judge was older with poor memory and was fairly new to family law. She ended up giving the wife the business and ordering my client to pay the wife alimony! How is someone supposed to pay alimony if you take away their only source of income for the last 10 years?
I filed a motion for rehearing but the judge denied it. As if that was bad enough, do you want to know the cherry on top of this triple-layered divorce cake? The judge awarded my client his home that he had inherited from his grandmother. The wife had been living in there during the divorce proceedings, and the judge gave her 30 days to move out.
Well, she stayed until the last possible day. When my client went back to the home, the wife had completely destroyed the inside. She took a screw driver and scratched an “X” on the surface of all of the furniture and the walls. My client ended up leaving the country.
5. Why So Salty?
One of my father’s friends tried to “salt the earth” before getting divorced. He transferred the deeds to a rental house and a cabin to relatives and sold the family cars to relatives for tiny sums…and he was just getting started. He put stocks in a trust “for the children” and vanished a chunk of cash from the company he co-owned with his wife.
He even stopped paying himself a salary, electing to burn through their personal savings for over a year instead. Well, he might have salted the earth but he was in for just desserts. When the divorce proceedings went to court, he learned that judges really, really hate it when you try to play dirty games. Turns out that hiding or intentionally diminishing assets is actually not a good idea.
In fact, judges will absolutely refer you to prosecutors. I don’t think that he spent time behind bars, but his ex-wife did get everything, plus the satisfaction of firing him from his own company.
6. Don’t Take a Chance with the Math
I have worked for a lawyer who worked divorces. This was his favorite case. Guy was making $150K a year, gets a Thai mail order bride, has three kids. Dude has an affair, and now decides that he doesn’t want an FOB wife and mixed-race kids, so he initiates a divorce. The woman’s only priority is to have custody of the kids, so, against her attorney’s advice, she’s willing to do whatever it takes.
She was willing to take a deal where she takes a car and gets $1,200 in child support, no spousal support, and $3,000 lump sum from their joint account, so she can rent an apartment (By the way, there’s ZERO chance that he actually wants custody of the children, because he’s already shacked up with the girl that he’s having an affair with).
She wanted full custody so bad that she was willing to live with three kids in a modest two-bedroom apartment and pull the kids out of expensive extracurricular activities (one of the kids has some talent in an Olympics event, to the level where she was getting professional coaching). She had to go to extreme lengths to cut costs, as well as get a crummy survival-type job after only ever being housewife since coming to the US.
The husband takes it to the front of the judge, against the advice of his own attorney, who tells him that he’d be nuts to turn this down. He doesn’t want to give her $3K, and figures that the judge will decide between what she wants and what he wants, not realizing that there’s a formula based on income that judges use to determine child support payments.
At the court, the judge awards the wife the $3K lump sum and $1,700 child support…FOR EACH KID. So, because he didn’t want to give his ex-wife $3K so his kids could have a place to live, about 50% of his take-home pay is going to his ex for the next 10+ years. The attorney I worked with was a stickler about money who never did anything for free, but this was the one case where he represented the woman for just a nominal fee because he had a justice boner.
7. Take a Rest From the Restroom
So, this girl I went to school with marries this rich guy from Ohio. She moves in with him, and they seem to get along well. Six months later, she files for divorce. Up to that point, all I’ve heard from her was how good it was going. Anyways, it turns out our buddy had a fetish for getting off on urine. He asked her to urinate on him in the tub.
At first, she agreed to it as she thought it was a one-time thing. But he kept asking for it more and more. She tried to decline it respectfully, but he wouldn’t get any of the hints. She finally used the tub being too small as a reason. The next day she comes home with two dozen construction guys and their heavy equipment tearing the bathroom walls.
A week or so later, they finish up the bathroom. She comes home to a sign left on the fridge with a note to drink up, she got some watering to do. I don’t know what exactly she put down as the official reason in the paperwork but that was definitely her biggest reason to walk out of that relationship. Oh, I forgot to add, he also wanted to bring a horse to do the deed as well and at times, asked her to make animal sounds while she stood on top of him.
8. None of My Business
My client and her ex-husband owned a successful renovation company. Marital issues happened, and they decided to divorce. They look at the money that is in the banks, the value of the company based on its past, the value of the house, and make an agreement that she gets the company and house, and he walks away with the ready cash. He takes off for a sunny place to start his life again.
Turns out, the husband had been planning to leave her for a while. He stopped paying the vendors and the payroll taxes, which is where the money in the bank accounts originally came from. Company has been existing on credit for over six months while he emptied the bank accounts. Employee’s paychecks start bouncing within weeks of him leaving, so they quit.
Jobs are not getting finished, so customers demand refunds. Within 12 months, she’s looking for someone to buy the home in a short sale just to get enough cash to close out the payroll accounts before declaring bankruptcy.
9. Schooling Herself in Bad Faith
My sister-in-law is mid-divorcing my brother after 30+ years of marriage. She’s met someone else, so far so normal. It happens, right? There’s one thing that’s destroyed him the most. She emptied their son’s savings account which my parents (very far from well off) have paid into once a month for years. That’s his university fund wiped out.
I don’t know about screwing over your spouse, but it’s the one betrayal my brother can’t come to terms with. My parents had set up an ordinary child savings account with my sister-in-law as sole trustee. They absolutely trusted her, but unfortunately, this gave her complete control over all of the funds in the account.
Legally, there’s not much we could do. She claims she thought it was “spending money” for my nephew for items of clothing, days out, etc. Bollocks to that. My parents already spend a fortune on that kind of stuff, and she’s clearly spent it all on her new relationship with the unemployed jerk, who also left his wife and three kids for her.
My parents have always had savings accounts for ALL their grandchildren, including my own children, and we ALL knew the money was for the kids to pay university fees or put towards a deposit on a home. So, while she’s morally disgusting, I think legally my parents are screwed. However, there’s one bright side. She didn’t get what she wanted financially in the divorce settlement because my brother’s solicitor asked for a provision in the order relating to her repaying the money taken from the account.
Faced with having to explain to a judge why there was a dispute over it, she backed down on some other stuff. So, my nephew has a new account that my parents have started paying into, and me and my husband are doing what we can too. Meanwhile, her life is circling the drain in all sorts of other ways, which I personally couldn’t give a darn about except to the extent that my poor nephew is trapped in the middle of it 🙁
10. This Tiger Has Claws
Divorce lawyer and mediator here. I once mediated the case of Neckbeard v. Tiger Mom. It must have started out as the perfect dream for Neckbeard. He landed a hot Asian wife, brought her to this country, but once that green card came through things changed. They had a daughter together and the case was mostly about her. This is where it got messy.
Tiger Mom had zero respect for this guy and, try as I might to maintain my empathy, I’ve never felt a greater urge to stuff another human into a locker. Two of his demands really stand out. He asked for the following injunction: “Tiger Mom shall be enjoined from discussing Neckbeard’s weight in a derogatory manner, specifically, tiger mom may not refer to neckbeard as fatty, tubby, pudgy, or Baymax.”
Normally, I wouldn’t take an offer like that to the other side. I’d normally help a guy come up with something more sensible, but everyone, including his lawyer, just could not take this guy seriously, so I wrote that out verbatim and trotted over to Tiger Mom’s room. Of course, she thought it was hilarious. She had a super thick accent and said, “My daughter calls him Baymax cuz he look like Baymax, I can’t fix that, he has to fix that.”
There comes a point at the end of the day when everything is pretty much settled and people are dividing up the stuff in the house. That should’ve been that…but then, of course, there was a total meltdown. Of course, Neckbeard loses it at this point, and it’s over a dang Nintendo Switch for the daughter. Tiger Mom made the very sensible proposal that the daughter take the Switch with her to each parent’s house as she goes back and forth.
Neckbeard freaks out and demands the Switch stay with him at all times because “There’s no way Tiger Mom can take proper care of it.” Mind you, the attorneys are billing enough to pay for three Switches an hour at this point. I don’t know what happened to the guy, but I do know calling him Baymax could land one lady in contempt of court after the most hilarious enforcement trial of all time, and he owns what’s probably the most expensive Nintendo Switch in the world.
As for who is the victim here: Both? Neither? Neckbeard briefly had a wife who was way out of his league. He also has a well-adjusted daughter and plenty of time with her if he wants to take it. He even has gaming in common with her. Tiger Mom had to put up with this guy for a few years, but now has a prosperous life and a lovely daughter.
11. He Wanted An Ultimate Separation
My parents’ divorce seemed simple: dad cheated on mom, mom gets custody of me. Dad didn’t like paying alimony and child support to the tune of $2k a month after he gave up rights, so he had a great idea: Pay a hitman $15k to kill his soon-to-be ex-wife. He ended up going through with it, but the idiot actually paid an undercover cop the money. He then flew back to Canada (home) and waited for the results.
An international task force was formed to try and detain him. Geraldo Rivera covered the story. My idiot dad got detained in Toronto and flown back to California. In this process, I was three and in care of family back down south, and my mother was in protection by law enforcement. My dad’s (apparently) wealthy family got a good lawyer. He was charged with 17 felonies, and I can’t remember how many he was convicted of.
He got 18 months. After all of this, my mom still had to sue for divorce. It took two long years. My mom is ok, though she’s bipolar now and had to move out of the state. I moved back home after spending time in the Forces. Today, my dad’s out of the clink, just not allowed in the country. I have never met him. We’ve talked four times. Found out when I was 18.
12. The Case of the Disappearing Dollars
Worked at a firm that was subpoenaed as part of a divorce between a partner at the firm and a partner at another major firm. The woman issued more than 70 subpoenas to banks, firms, investment companies—you name it—because she was convinced that he had squirreled away $20+ million overseas behind her back. It got so bad that she dug up receipts from 25 years ago to try to put together this grand conspiracy puzzle.
In the end, after she racked up $1.5 million in fees, and had gone through seven different lawyers, the judge said this stuff is ridiculous: there was no conspiracy, and you are not entitled to a portion of this phantom $20 million. Mind you: this was a major firm partner who was acting this way. She made millions per year in her career. But she apparently lost her mind.
13. “C” You at the Bank
Dad was a real jerk, and Mom tried to save him a lot of money during the divorce. They have three kids who were 16, 13, and eight. Dad wouldn’t sign ANY agreement my mom’s lawyer produced. It had to be his idea and from his lawyer or it wasn’t getting signed. Dad’s lawyer was incompetent and sends an agreement that states he will pay $2,000 a month in child support until all kids are 18.
Mom tried to explain to dad that it needed to be revised to lower every time a child turned 18. Dad called mom a C-word during that negotiation, so mom said screw it, and signed the agreement. Dad paid the $2,000/month for 10 years when he should’ve been paying around $1,400/month for five years and $700/month for the last five years.
In short, Dad screwed himself out of thousands each year by calling my mom a C-word.
14. Driving Himself Crazy
Throughout the divorce proceedings, there was a car that was a huge point of contention between the husband and wife. After months and months of saying he would never let the wife have the car, the husband concedes in exchange for something great, like one of their summer houses. It turns out he had been driving the car for three hours every day in a big loop around the city, putting thousands and thousands of miles on it, basically making it worthless.
The amount of planning and spite that went into that was amazing.
15. Everyone Wants Something for Nothing
It was more of an estate issue, but a deceased man was married to a woman nine years ago. These are what I call “late in life marriages,” where a woman with nothing marries a retired man with a house, retirement income, and time to vacation. Man brings a fully-paid-for house into the marriage. He takes out a mortgage to presumably afford vacations and new wife expenses. Bank requires both names on the mortgage, so he deeds it to them as joint tenants.
Two years later, she leaves him for another man and was never heard from again. A couple of months ago, he finds out he’s going to die. He immediately files for a divorce (but it was never finalized). He created a deed to his children (not valid, because it would need her signature), and a will which describes in detail how terrible she was, and disinheriting her completely (doesn’t matter, because the state allows a wife to avoid the will and take 1/2 of marital property).
He passed on before anything could be done. She now owns the only remaining assets of the house and a marital car. Even though the son moved into the house and took care of his dying father for two years, no heirs will receive anything. She will receive a hefty house and a $20K car.
16. The Cost of Good Grief
Bad separation. The wife filed a restraining order on the husband (very common, wasn’t a terrible guy but not great either). A year into the divorce, his mother was dying. He asked his sister to speak with his ex-wife and ask to bring the kids to see her in the hospital before she passed on. The wife never did. Instead, she went to the court and said he violated the restraining order by trying to contact her (you can’t contact someone through another party).
He admitted it and explained the situation but was found in breach of the order. His mother passed on while he was locked up, and the wife never brought the kids to see her.
17. Awaiting The End
The saddest divorce we were hired to do, but ended up not doing for reasons that’ll become apparent, was a woman in her fifties whose husband had really just let himself go. He was over 400 lbs., just did his third triple bypass, refused to do ANYTHING different, just drank all day long while watching TV. His doctors told him he was going to pass in six months if he didn’t change his behavior. He told them they were all morons.
Meanwhile, his wife is this successful woman who makes over $10,000 a month on her HOBBY while making six figures in her normal work. She lost all respect for him, all desire, and all love for him by watching his decline. For the past few years, she can barely stand him. But that’s not all. It also sounded like there was some problems going on where he constantly accused her of cheating and gaslighting her while cheating himself throughout their marriage as well as spending all her money, the usual.
His accusations ramped up considerably once she lost about 200 lbs. the good old-fashioned way. We were working on her divorce and one of her provisions was that he’d keep her as the beneficiary on his life insurance for obvious reasons. She assured us he would agree to everything she suggested in the paperwork if she talked him through it. One day, we get an email from her saying to halt the divorce. The reason was shocking.
It wasn’t because they were reconciling, but because he refused to keep her as the beneficiary on his life insurance if they divorced. So, she stopped the divorce so that she could get the benefits when he inevitably dies in a few months.
18. Love Is Robbed Blind
I got into all this because of a lawyer in my old office. He represented a woman whose husband left her because she got involved in a romance scam that started as a pen pal. It was a weird marriage. He was clearly a closet gay who married her for her money because she was ugly as all sin. They kept separate lives for 30 years.
She began corresponding with someone she believed was a three-star general serving in Afghanistan. It went the typical way schemes like this do: she fell in love and he needed money to move from Afghanistan back to the United States. She eventually would transfer him about $70,000 over the course of eight months. Even when my friend brought me into the conference room to lay out the case as being a scam, for which I had piles of proof, she continued to transfer money, including an $8,000 transfer the day after.
The judge ruled she owed her husband dollar for dollar what she gave the scammer, so that was the $70k plus he issued a temporary restraining order barring her from transferring marital assets. My friend dumped her as a client when she showed interest in appealing the TRO and trying to expedite her divorce so she could “marry” the scammer.
19. Cheap Real Estate
I spent six months costing financial aid cases for solicitors in the early 90s. This included many divorces. The most notable one was a woman divorcing her husband because he discovered he could talk to the dead on their honeymoon and then later spent all their money on spiritualist groups. During the divorce, the woman left the house.
At some point her husband approached her and claimed that as he was letting the house fall into ruin, it would be better for both of them if he sold the house and split the proceeds with her. She agreed to this without consulting her solicitor. A few weeks later the husband gave her £5. She asked what it was for. It was her share of the house.
He’d sold it to his sister for £10 and kept living there. When she went to complain to her solicitors, she found they’d done the conveyancing for him. He’d deliberately used his wife’s divorce solicitors and nobody at the firm had realized.
20. Reality Prank
My friend bought a lottery ticket and played the numbers that had already won the night before to play a trick on his wife. He went home and put the ticket on the fridge where the other ones were, thinking his wife wouldn’t have a reason to pay attention to their specific date. He heard his wife get up and make some coffee and yell from the living room that he hasn’t checked the lottery numbers yet and for her to see if they won anything last night.
He heard her use the laptop to check the numbers and then she is quiet for a minute. He said he had this big grin on his face waiting for her to start yelling they won and thinking how funny it would be. She yelled from the kitchen that they didn’t win anything. She then went back upstairs and 15 minutes later, she passed through the living room with both their elementary-age kids in tow and said she forgot to tell him she had to go to her mom’s place for the day and left with the kids.
He was shocked. He went and checked, the lottery ticket is gone, not in the trash or anywhere else. He realized she thinks they won the lottery and she is trying to run off with the winnings. She didn’t return calls or talk to him and when he called even though the grandma confirmed that she was there, she only put the kids on the phone, but that was it. She finally showed up with the kids a couple of days later and just walked into the house, swore at him, walked into her bedroom, and refused to talk to him!
The kids confirm that mom thought she had won a ton of money. Realizing what kind of person she was and that she also isn’t very smart to think she would have gotten away with it, he divorced her.
21. Plastics Are Forever
Neither side would follow the court orders. When they had to go back to court, they were fighting over the husband’s grandmother’s bowls. I assumed for weeks that these bowls were some sort of heirloom or expensive china. When they finally brought the bowls into the courtroom to swap them, I discovered that they were Tupperware. Who knew plastic was more precious than diamonds?
22. The Defenestration Separation
I would never disclose a client’s details because, you know, confidentiality. But I did have a mediation professor who told me this gem of a divorce story. She was mediating a divorce and the couple was so close to making a settlement. Until it all went out the window…literally. You see, this couple had purchased a lovely Victorian home together.
The husband, while unemployed, had painstakingly restored all of the old windows. Restoring the windows was a very time-consuming and labor-intensive task. Fast-forward to division of assets: The couple agreed to split the sale of the house equally, but he demanded a larger share because of the value of the windows. She said she should have that money, because she was supporting them at the time.
He returned that she could keep the entire house, but he was getting those windows. Then she said, “You can shove those windows up your…” Well, anyway, you get the idea. They went back and forth while my poor professor tried to mediate them into a neutral position.
23. Reply All?
There are so many crazy divorce stories and they always bring out the absolute worst in couples. Like this one: A couple did their will with our firm. We drafted everything for them as they were an older couple; they had been married for 40 years total. The husband wanted us to put in his will that his kids get his entire estate, with one small caveat.
He did not want us to tell his wife. Instead, he wanted to have us make a secret will and a fake will. He had a whole plan. He would sign the fake will with her present, and then we would shred it. Then he would come in later to sign the “real will.” There was just one hitch in his Ocean’s Eleven scheme…he copied his wife on the email.
Two weeks later, he called us and said he wanted to file for divorce.
24. Hardly Something To Brush Off
There’s this married couple. He was frustrated by her hoarding. She was frustrated by his utter uselessness. He filed for divorce and she was my client. Her prized possession was a room or two full of scrapbooking materials. His prized possession was a yard full of junk cars that he never worked on. They had no children and no real assets.
They hated each other more than any two people I’d ever met, and the only terms they would agree to were these: he gets the scrapbooking stuff, and she gets the cars. The woman also took the house, as he had no income and didn’t want it anyway. But that’s not even the most ridiculous part. These two also fought over a toilet brush, as he didn’t want to have to buy one when he moved out.
I politely instructed my client to “give him the stupid toilet brush.” It was the shortest divorce decree I ever drafted. I intentionally squeezed it onto one page, and the judge and I had a good laugh over it. Once the decree was signed and filed, she hauled all the scrapbooking stuff to the yard, and he removed it to the dump.
She then called a junk shop I referred her to and had all of his cars removed from the yard.
25. Attorney On Demand
A previous client of ours was livid that his wife was cheating on him. She wanted a non-contested divorce and wanted to use my boss specifically because she knew he was a great lawyer. So, our client pretended to go along with her terms but contacted us literally two days before his wife and retained us. He said he didn’t care how much money the retainer was going to be.
He just wanted my boss so his wife couldn’t have him as a lawyer. He called and paid first, so he won that battle.
26. And Your Little Dog Too…
My friend’s firm handled the divorce of an extremely rich man who claimed his wife was cheating on him. The lawyer proceeded to ask him about his assets and what he wanted to keep. The man said that his wife could have the house, the car, the boat, the kids, etc. Given that he seemed willing to give up everything, the lawyer asked him what he wanted to keep.
Not even Cruella de Ville would have asked for this. After the man’s lawyer asked him what he wanted to keep in the divorce, the man angrily responded, “My wife only loves her dog. I want her to suffer so I want the court to order that the dog be taken away from her and cremated. She can have 50% of the ashes and I’ll have the other 50%.”
What would have happened if his wife only loved their kids?
27. The Love Has Dried Up
My aunt was a divorce lawyer. She worked a case where the wife glued all of the outdoor hoses together so that her husband wouldn’t spend any more time washing his car. When the glue didn’t work, she just cut up the hoses instead. And when this woman’s husband bought new hoses, she finally filed for divorce. The only question I have is…”Was it a nice car?”
28. Ashes To Ashes
I had a husband and wife go toe-to-toe over an ashtray they got in Las Vegas. The couple spent nearly $5,000 for me and another attorney to duke it out in court over the silly trinket. Prior to proceeding, I explained that it would be cheaper to fly me to Vegas and get an identical ashtray. The husband said he didn’t care about the costs—and his reasons were deeply malicious.
It turns out that the husband had other intentions for their marriage memorabilia. When he won, he smashed the ashtray on the steps of the courthouse. He laughed and said the look on his wife’s face was worth much more than $2,500. People get crazy in divorce proceedings.
29. Bear With Me
I used to clerk for a judge, and we had a week-long divorce trial between a couple. The husband was a wildlife photographer and the wife was a stay-at-home wife who “remodeled” the house. They had no kids. Anyway, one day the husband was photographing a grizzly bear but must have gotten a little too close and the bear mauled him.
He spent several months in the hospital and rehab. As if surviving a bear attack wasn’t enough, his wife had him served with divorce papers shortly after he got out of rehab. Of course, she wanted half of everything. The guy had lost an eye…what more could she possibly have taken?
30. You’ve Got Male
The client’s husband was an elected official (may still be) and signed a separation agreement. He fails to do anything he agreed to, so the wife sues. He fights, saying that she forced him to sign. She shows emails where he negotiated the agreement and agreed on the final draft, and she shows emails where she tried to work with him on payments that he owed her.
He loses after making his staff member come into court (who testified that he didn’t think the husband was being forced) and having a complete meltdown (rumor was he threw his elected title around the judge as a way to get them to help him). A few months later, he shows up to contest the actual divorce, citing the same stuff, and then says that she threatened to shoot him.
Judge sides with the client. He has to now pay her like $6K or get thrown behind bars. All could’ve been avoided if he responded to the emails that she sent him.
31. That’s Just Pea…NUTS!
I worked a divorce case that was frustrating enough to make anyone pluck out their eyelashes. It took the couple two hours to decide who would get the groceries left in the fridge. The estimated value of the groceries was around $40. Two hours of my time, opposing counsel’s time, and mediator time added up to about $1,000. It all came down to an oversized jar of peanut butter.
All I could think of the whole time was, “Who keeps peanut butter in the fridge?!”
32. A Stroke of Bad Love
My father-in-law had a stroke at the age of 46. He lost the use of his right arm and the ability to speak. Shortly after his stroke, his wife decided they needed to move into a smaller house and sell their current one, which was under his name and he had paid for. This also meant she was kicking out my brother-in-law and my wife (girlfriend at the time).
She also decided to put down my wife’s cat and get rid of the family dog since their new house wouldn’t have pets, according to her. She sold their house at a loss and immediately bought a new car with the money. My wife and her brother found a new place, and my father-in-law and his wife moved in with one of her kids.
After six months, she dumped him at my wife’s place and said, “I can’t take care of him, we are getting a divorce.” I don’t know how it happened exactly, but she got half his money and a new car. She then went to all his family and lied to them and somehow convinced them that he was being abusive and didn’t love her anymore.
We tried to convince him to fight it, but he refused to do anything because he was so depressed. The lawyer ruled he was of sound mind so he could make his own decisions. My wife is still upset about it and wishes he had tried to fight it, but he still loved his wife, so he didn’t want to. He lives with us now and has been doing a lot better emotionally.
33. The Hand That Feeds You…
I once had a case where the estranged wife just didn’t know what was good for her. She was calling my client’s employer repeatedly, accusing him of theft and other white-collar offences to try to get my client fired. The funny thing about it all was that she was also demanding child support…which was based on my client’s income. Income from the job from which she was trying to get him fired.
34. This Testimony Is Not Suitable for All Audiences
We once went to an open court with my university, and it was a divorce case. Our whole class was there watching them get divorced. It was a Dutch business guy and his eastern European wife. She was talking about how he forced her to do extreme things in the bedroom against her will. Their children were also there watching, and I remember feeling so bad for the kids.
They were like 12 and 15 and not only did they have to watch their parents’ divorce, they had to hear about their father’s fetishes and how he forced himself on their mother while an entire class of university students was watching along gasping like we were watching a movie. The lady was crying while she was talking about all his fetishes that she absolutely hated. Somehow, it got even worse.
Judge asked if he ever was violent. She said he slapped me on my face and bottom, only when we were in the bedroom, but I didn’t want it. I remember seeing their 15-year-old daughter at that moment. Completely red face and eyes filled with tears that she tried to hold in. Looked like she wanted to bury her head into the sand. Felt so terrible for that girl.
Meanwhile, the girl next to me kept pushing her leg against mine every time this lady spoke a word, like, “OMG DID YOU HEAR THAT?”
35. A Hairy Situation
My dad was a divorce lawyer. He had a client who wanted to divorce her husband for two very odd reasons. For one, she claimed that he did not have enough hair on his chest. And the second reason was that he did not drive fast enough. In all fairness, this was 1970s when chest hair was a bit more important. The speeding thing, that I can’t explain.
36. The Caustic Ex
This husband and wife were getting divorced after multiple attempts to reconcile. The husband is an attorney, though not family law. One of the attempted reconciliations included the wife losing some weight and sending husband some sexy/naked pictures. Once the divorce litigation started, the husband sent these pictures to the wife’s minister father…but that’s not the worst part.
He then asked the dad if he knew what a harlot he raised. During the litigation process, the husband also drove around at night (with, I should add, their two small children in the car with him) to find the wife’s car parked over in her friend’s driveway. He proceeded to pour airplane acid (yeah apparently, it’s a thing) all over the hood of the wife’s car.
Not a great guy, that’s for sure.
37. Fighting For Fido
I was in a mediation once where it took the couple an hour and a half to split their personal property, retirement accounts, real property, and custody of their six-month-old son. The rest of the day, about four hours, they spent arguing about how to split the time with the dog. For the kid they just said, “as agreed upon by the parties” but the dog had a strict schedule.
38. You Just Played Yourself
One of my father’s friends tried to salt the earth before getting divorced. A rental house and a cabin were deeded to relatives, the cars they drove every day were sold to other relatives for tiny sums, stocks handed over to a trust “for the children,” etc. He even vanished a chunk of cash from the company he co-owned with his wife.
He used phony invoices and stopped paying himself a salary, electing to burn through their personal savings for over a year instead. However, he had no idea what he was in for. He learned that judges really, really, REALLY hate it when you try to hide or intentionally diminish assets, and they will absolutely refer you to prosecutors for it.
I don’t think that he did any time in the end, but his ex-wife got absolutely EVERYTHING, plus the satisfaction of firing him from his own company.
39. M-I-C-K-E-Y N-O
I was a clerk for a family court judge. Believe me when I say that the kids always suffer in a divorce. We had a woman go to extreme lengths to spite her ex-husband, even if it meant disappointing her daughter. She even tried to get an injunction to keep the father from taking their daughter on a trip to Disney World. Like it is whenever love ends, it was so sad.
40. ‘Til We Spend Some Time Apart
I used to work as a divorce lawyer, but it honestly wasn’t something that I was proud of. Plus, the partner who I worked for was a complete jerk. I was the eleventh associate to work for her in just 10 years. We used to go through two or three secretaries every single year. Here’s a couple of the screwed up cases that I can remember:
Our client and his wife were both Mormon, and she tried to use it against him. During the divorce, she kept telling him that he had to give her everything she wanted in the divorce because they were sealed in the church and would be spending eternity together. We had to fight him not to give her more than she deserved.
We also represented the wife of a minor celebrity and said celebrity would file for divorce regularly when she “acted up.” Once he determined she was behaving as he liked, he’d cancel the divorce. Rotten jerk.
41. Shaking Like A Dog
My mom was a divorce lawyer. One specific story I remember was about a couple fighting for custody of their dog. The guy already lost custody of the children and then lost the case for custody of the dog. When the ex-wife’s mother came to pick up the dog, he told her that she could get him out of the freezer…Yes, that’s right, he froze the dog.
42. Breaking Red
A couple that were both lieutenant colonels in the Air Force had one daughter that was about 11 or 12. Both had graduate degrees and were generally intelligent people. Well, the husband had an affair and things went sour with the relationship. The daughter was at that age when her relationship with the mother was starting to get a little strained.
She mentioned how she wanted to stick with her dad because he was about to be stationed elsewhere and the parents would be going their separate ways. The mother absolutely freaked. The first thing she did was go to local law enforcement and claim the father had been abusing the daughter. They investigated and couldn’t find any evidence so they dropped the case. Then, it gets worse.
The mother, still furious, then goes to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and reports the same thing. The Air Force then suspends the husband from duty and conducts their own investigation and come to the same result of no evidence of wrongdoing and the case is dropped. The mother then goes to the next state over where the husband is about to be transferred and contacts local law enforcement there with the same story.
They of course do their own investigation but get the same result. The case is dropped. Of course, this whole time the daughter has been interviewed a dozen times by psychologists, various therapists, law enforcement, the Air Force, and who knows else. The daughter is straight-up traumatized by this. People constantly asking her if her dad had been touching her and such.
Not to mention the harm it did to her father’s career. He was basically screwed from any possible promotion just because of the allegations as well as the fact that infidelity in the Forces is a big no, no. But that was his own doing. Well, once word of all this gets back to the judge, he is furious. So the judge comes up with a plan. He’s a former Air Force Jag and still has contacts in the ranks.
The couple comes in front of him one day for a hearing and he outright tells her she better stop this behavior or he’s going to hold her in contempt of court for the maximum amount of time he can lawfully hold her in a cell, contact the DA and recommend the filing of charges, contact her Air Force superiors and recommend reprimand to the fullest extent possible, and basically anything and everything he can do within his power.
43. Micro Aggressions
I represented a woman who was convinced that her husband was the real-world equivalent of Lex Luthor or something. She claimed that he had implanted micro-robots in her brain and was trying to control her. She would bring us all of this nanotechnology and try to convince us that it was possible. She dragged the case out for four years. We almost had to get a conservator for her estate.
44. What’s Mine is Yours
My uncle has been a lifelong videographer and still works to this day as a news photographer. During the early to late 90s, he stopped shooting news and started shooting freelance. This was before everyone and their mom had a camera/editing software/and whatnot. Eventually, he became a sought-after photographer.
In the 80s when he was working as a news photographer, he met and married a reporter with whom he would go on to have two children with. After leaving the news business to freelance he decided to start a video editing business with his wife. That went extremely well for a while and they were making money hand over fist.
He would be asked to shoot for channels such as Food Network and HGTV, DIY, etc., and then edit it into the show. She would work as the go-between for his clients and as a bookkeeper. However, she was hiding a dark secret. Eventually, it turned out that she was a secret addict and adulterer and their marriage ended in divorce.
At this point, my uncle was making a quarter-mil or more a year with their business. She decided to sue him for alimony mostly because he was worth a good chunk of change but also because she helped him build his business. Her demands were ridiculous, something like 75% of the business for the next so many years or something crazy.
My uncle’s lawyer was afraid she was going to win because she had played such a big role in building the business. Fast forward to court day, her lawyer stands in front of the judge and lists off what she wants in the divorce. Once he is finished it’s my uncle’s turn. He blindsides her. He offers to give her 100% of the business.
The judge and both lawyers are confused and ask him if he is sure. Without him shooting and editing there is no business. So basically, she would be left with a heck of a lot less than she asked for by asking for X amount of profits. The judge reasoned that his offer was fair and that she could take it or leave it. She was furious, her lawyer was furious and she ended up getting nothing.
45. I’m A Professional
My first divorce case was the most memorable. My client was a nice looking, 50ish waitress who was breaking hearts at the local small-town cafe. She was on divorce number five. I had a little lawyer kit of things she should do such as clean out the joint accounts, change the car title, etc. To my surprise, she had done all of them…plus a few things I hadn’t thought of.
“Husband No.5” came into my office to cry and concede everything. Now that was a guy who needed a lawyer with a list. Suffice to say, our client got everything she was, or might have been, entitled to plus a little more.
46. In Clear Violation
This guy getting a divorce becomes suspicious that his separated wife is having an affair. He goes a little insane with jealousy. He secretly follows her to a bar and waits outside in his car. She comes out many hours later in the dark and follows another car to a house. The husband follows her and parks down the block.
He gets out, sees the house her car is parked at, and goes around into the backyard. He’s sneaking around looking in windows and finally opens a sliding glass door and enters the house. His wife and the guy she’s with hear him moving around, lock the bedroom door, and call 9-1-1. He starts pounding on the bedroom door and shouting at his wife, and then law enforcement officers kick in the front door.
The officers get everyone downstairs to sort this out. That is when the guy made a shocking realization: his wife was sleeping with his own divorce lawyer.
I was a family law attorney for years. It was nasty all the time, which is why I finally switched to a different area. But not before this crazy couple…I worked a divorce where the ex-couple lived together after their divorce. It wasn’t for love. It was just pure and simple spite. Neither wanted to move. I believe they still live together.
48. The Secret Ingredient
I was a marriage counselor for this soldier who was stationed at Guantanamo Bay that met a local. They fell madly in love. They decided to get married so she could come with him back to the States once his tour was done. She was working on American dishes and was making spaghetti. He comes home from work one day while she’s making it.
She puts the meat in, puts the canned sauce in, and then pulls an unlabeled bag out of the freezer and adds it to the sauce. At this point in the session, she’s hysterically crying with broken Spanglish. She’s trying to explain she didn’t know any better. What she said next was absolutely shocking. Through the hysteria he informs me her mother and grandmother told her if she wanted to keep her man, she needed to put her menstrual blood in his food.
It was so hard to keep my composure. I was trying to hard not to gag. They both said that they were madly in love, but he couldn’t let it go. They ended up getting a divorce. Having done this for 14 years, I have found it 100% accurate that truth is stranger than fiction.
49. Leaving The Nest
I once interned for a small family firm and had some really odd stories. This attractive lady relocated from Florida to the mountains of Virginia with her husband to restart their relationship. Unfortunately, they were moving in with her parents and had not found a new place to live yet. Well, the move didn’t help and they ended up seeking a divorce.
He ended up kicking the woman out of the house. Yeah, you read that correctly, he kicked her out of her parents’ house.
50. Smoochy Mooch
My aunt was dating an unemployed dude for a while. He was staying in her house rent-free. They got married and were getting ready to go on the honeymoon when the new husband tells her he’s not going because he has to take care of his plants at the house. There was a big fight. Aunt goes on the honeymoon with her sisters instead.
She comes home and tries to kick him out of her house but he refuses to leave. She tries to get law enforcement involved. The dude is live-streaming on Facebook how he is being trapped in his own home. But that’s not even the worst part. Officers tell my aunt there is basically nothing they can do and that she can file for eviction after a divorce.
The dude gets to live in her house with his precious plants for like three months until everything legally gets worked out.
51. Failed Marriages And Flat Tires
This wasn’t my case, but I overheard it in divorce court once. While separated, a guy went around to his wife’s house and took revenge on her car. Apparently, in an act of brazen post-marital rage, he slashed her tires. And if you were thinking about calling the authorities, you’ll have no luck there. He was a law enforcement officer. That’s just crazy.
52. Possessed By An Evangelical
One of my clients had an inner ear condition that caused chronic vertigo, but her symptoms could be treated with medication. Her husband was an evangelical who was convinced his wife had become possessed and that her vertigo and general crankiness with his methods were evidence of demonic possession. And that’s not all.
He also thought that the medications she was taking were enabling the devil to hide inside her, and, worst of all, the only proper recourse was an exorcism. He would hide her meds until she got dizzy and then try various methods of exorcism. This included sweating it out, where he’d put her under blankets while incapacitated and locked in a room full of space heater.
He’d also make her freeze it out, which was pretty much the reverse with AC, fans, and bags of ice. Then, there was surprising it out, where he would jump out and scare her like it was the hiccups, but instead of yelling “Boo!” he would recite the Lord’s Prayer or Psalms. The final straw? He tried to “surprise it out of her” by pushing her down the stairs when they were heading out for dinner.
53. Personal Accessories
I was an assistant when this case came in, but this lady divorced her husband of two months because he got her an iPad case for her birthday instead of the expensive jewelry she wanted.
54. Nobody Wins
I dropped into court to visit a family friend who was a judge and had quite a treat. A wealthy area farmer and his wife were in court that day fighting about possessions/assets. The judge had had enough. After briefly reviewing the history of their case, he offered the couple one last opportunity to retire to a conference room and come to an agreement. Both refused.
Their lawyers were clearly as weary as the judge. The judge then asks each party which room in their house was their favorite room. She picked the kitchen and he picked his gun room. The judge then informed them that because the matter had dragged on for so long with both behaving like children, he was going to decide the matter of the property.
She was awarded everything in the kitchen and he, the room. Everything else was to be sold at auction with the profits equally divided. Then the judge told them, “Now neither of you is happy, right?”
55. My Precious
A couple got divorced over a cat. The wife called the cat Snowball because of its white fur and only wanted the cat to eat wet food or chicken breast. The husband called the cat Lily again because of its white fur and believed it should only eat dry food. These two argued for a year over custody of the cat but did not give a thought about their human kids aged 15 months, 4 years, and 6 years old.
56. Wildly Overreacting
I once had a heavily pregnant client that attacked her husband of less than a year with an iron. Said client was now sitting in a cell, sobbing, and insisting that her husband deserved it and she wanted a divorce. I asked what he had supposedly done, assuming he’d cheated or something similar. When I found out, my jaw dropped to the floor.
It turned out that she’d checked his phone and found a single adult website in his browsing history…from over two years beforehand. Sure, it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to discover, but hardly worth battering him and demanding a divorce.
57. Choose Your Partners Wisely
I currently have a client who makes a sizeable salary, north of $200k/yr. His spouse has separated but will not leave the matrimonial home, despite her overtures that she wants to become independent. She has actively depleted the joint bank account of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which she has siphoned into personal bank accounts and she uses to finance her lifestyle of expensive yoga classes, buying luxury purses and shoes, eating at fine dining establishments, and spending recklessly to deplete her net family property.
She was literally taking every penny that he deposited from his paycheque on the advice of her lawyer, which she then used to pay for her lawyer. He was literally financing opposing counsel. That has now stopped. She will not allow him to see the kids when he comes home from work, or even read them bedtime stories.
She refused to allow him to take his sons to see their grandfather in hospital, who passed om shortly thereafter, and she continues to alienate the children from the paternal aunts and grandmother. She has no family that still speaks to her. Both her and her counsel are bloodthirsty. Even though they signed a prenup, she wants to take half of the $2.5 million home, wants full custody of the kids, and wants him to pay her $8,000 a month in spousal support.
She could work full-time earning as much as $95,000/yr, but she’d rather live life like a real housewife of Toronto. I just took this file on, but it has the makings of a nasty divorce already. I want nothing more than to take her and her counsel down hard. Files like this make my blood boil, because sometimes other lawyers take stupidly aggressive positions to force the matter into litigation.
58. I’ll Never Let You Go…To The Marriott Hotel
My aunt has been divorced for quite some time, but you wouldn’t know it. She’s still driving her attorney crazy with her requests. Most recently, she took her ex-husband to court. Her motive was ridiculous. She wanted to know where he was working and when, all so that she could have her private investigator keep an eye on him and his new girlfriend.
She should have just let it go…she got the house, the kids, the boat, and even the Marriott International points.
59. A Less Than Ideal Family Situation
My mom was a real piece of work in this department. My mother is mentally unstable and was very terrible to me as a child. When my father finally moved out and asked for a divorce I was luckily old enough (13) to legally decide who I wanted to live with. I, of course, chose my dad and that enraged my mother. She wanted revenge.
By court order, she was allowed to live in our four-bedroom house while me and my dad had to move in with my aunt into a two-bedroom house. We lived there for four years while my mom did everything she could to slow down the divorce proceedings. During this period, my father was court-ordered to pay the mortgage and utilities on the house my mother was living in.
Her reaction was disturbing. She would leave all the lights on and crank the heat with the windows open just to drive the utility bills up. She once left the garden hose on for a week into a drain to even make the water bill outrageous. When it was finally all over and she had taken my dad for as much as she could she decided to sue him for my college fund.
I called her and told her if she went through with it I would never speak to her again, she told me if I wanted it I needed to move in with her before I turned 18 so she could get child support from my dad. I refused, she won the case for the money and my dad had to use most of what was left of the fund to pay for her lawyer’s costs.
60. Don’t Be A Baby, Baby
The court ordered this couple, who had been divorced for four months, to divide up their Beanie Baby Collection, valued somewhere between $2,500 and $5000…and they were seemingly unable to do so by themselves. The couple spread out the collection on the floor and divided up one by one under the supervision of a Family Court Judge.
61. Cleaning House
My friend is a divorce lawyer. They had a client whose former spouse brutally attacked them. Apparently, the former spouse blamed the divorce attorney for “taking him to the cleaners” in the divorce. The worst part is that the lawyer was at the grocery store doing his weekly food shopping with his wife and kids during the attack.
62. Revenge Is A Dish Best Served… Cheap?
I worked with a guy who really stuck it to his ex-wife. When I met him he was working in a sporting goods store making 8 dollars an hour. He was not really like the other retail monkeys. He was older, well-groomed, well-spoken, clearly educated, etc. One night after work he gets into his car, and I couldn’t help but notice that it was a very very nice newish Jaguar.
I asked him how he could afford it and he explained it to me: He had been an big boss at a well-known Fortune 50 company, pulling in $300k with bonuses and stock options. He was married, but the marriage fell apart and in the divorce, she demanded that she get the house and 40% of his wages. He and his lawyer somehow managed to get her to agree to let him keep the house in exchange for 75% of his pay..no dollar figure or employer specified.
As soon as she took the settlement, he quit his job and looked for a minimum wage job. He said to me that “She gets 75% of nearly nothing now.” He had other money stashed away, so he didn’t even need the job, and he had the house and its equity as well. Also, no kids, so there was no child support. Just alimony.
She was furious of course, and tried to re-sue him, but failed at least once. When she claimed that the settlement was not keeping her in the lifestyle she was accustomed to, he knew exactly what to say. He simply told the judge that the divorce was traumatic to him, and he could no longer do his old job as a result.
At least at that time, she did not manage to get out of the deal. Not sure how it all ended. But I thought it was brilliant, if not crazy-level spiteful. He was a good employee too…good with customers, showed up on time, no absenteeism or anything like that. He claimed he loved each payday, because it reminded him how little she was getting.
63. The Honeymoon That Never Ends
I represented the husband in a divorce. During the proceedings, we tried to get the court to eliminate his spousal support obligations. His wife, however, insisted that she needed the support…and wait until you hear why. The whole process took way longer than it should have because his wife was taking vacations to Mexico at least once every month.
64. The Frog That Hopped Away
I once worked an interesting—and very, very sad—divorce case. It’s not uncommon for parents to fight over custody in a divorce, but that’s not what happened this time…not at all. My client and their spouse had a son that they named Snoop Frog (I kid you not) and sadly, neither of them wanted custody. Honestly, it was nothing that a name change couldn’t fix.
65. Life Turned Upside Down
Not a lawyer, but got divorced. During divorce proceedings, when we didn’t live together anymore, my wife filed a frivolous report with local law enforcement saying that I “threatened” her. In the report, she wrote my apartment’s address as her place of residence. A court immediately issued a restraining order against me, prohibiting me from being in my apartment (that I rented).
While the restraining order was active (several months), I had to live in hotels and Airbnbs, which of course is 2x-3x of normal rent, without having access to my clothes and other stuff. I also was paying the rent for the apartment that was empty all that time. She never actually went there during that restraining order, even though she claimed it as her residence.
The restraining order was lifted as the case was dismissed after she never provided any evidence or even testimony to DA. I didn’t sign a lease extension in time during this process because I had no information how long the restraining order will be for; even though it was lifted right before my lease expired, I ended up having to move (and pay a broker fee).
Of course, this also delayed divorce proceedings because we couldn’t communicate while the restraining order was active. Besides that, she refused to sign tax form for “married filing jointly.” I ended up filing as “married filing separately,” which meant quite a few thousand dollars extra in payment to IRS. This was the biggest case of “screw you over without any gain for me” that I have seen.
66. Until The Grave Do Us Part
I wouldn’t recommend it, but one of the best ways to stick it to your ex is to kick the can during a messy divorce. In my client’s case, the court had orally declared a couple to be divorced. Sadly, before they could finalize the official paperwork, the husband went to his grave. The courts spent two years figuring out how to proceed and made a divisive decision…
The court decided that the wife had to divide everything 50/50 with her deceased husband. And to think, if he had passed two weeks sooner, she would have avoided years of court hearings, thousands in fees, and kept everything for herself.
67. I’m Giving You The Cold Shoulder
I once represented one party in a divorce. While the divorce proceedings were on-going, the couple still lived together pending the sale of their family home. But just because they lived together did not mean that they were on speaking terms. In fact, they would not speak to one another for any reason whatsoever.
Things were so bad that I even had to negotiate terms for sharing refrigerator space.
68. What Goes Around Comes Around
Over here in the Netherlands, most lawyers’ fees are paid for by the government if your income is below a certain threshold. In practice, this means that if one of the spouses in a divorce has little to no income and the other one has a normal income, the one with the normal income will have to pay a lot if the process drags on.
Considering there are plenty of ways to drag it on, I’ve seen cases approach ridiculous amounts of billable hours. There is a catch to this, however. Your lawyer is paid a set amount if he/she is paid by the government. However, should the money you receive after a divorce or whatever exceed a certain number, you are expected to pay your own lawyer, which is the reason we still keep track of the hours in these cases.
So this one woman who thought she was screwing over her ex-husband by dragging the divorce over multiple years got a payout of ~€40k by the end of it. Unfortunately for her, she had to surrender most of that straight back in lawyer costs. There was a certain sense of justice in there. Also proves time and again that when there is a conflict, the only true winners are usually the lawyers.
69. Please Play Nice
My first trial. My client’s husband was suing her for divorce. Her soon-to-be ex-husband was alleging habitual cruelty and inhumane treatment. When I heard what he had to say, my jaw-dropped. I had to agree with him. Her husband was claiming that she had grabbed him in a sensitive area really, really hard and hurt him on purpose.
What’s more, I had to cross-examine him about it. Awkward.
70. Call Me, Maybe?
I had a client whose soon-to-be-ex-husband used her email address and phone number to sign her up for every bank, loan, religious, mental illness, and adult site he could think of. These companies bombarded her about their products and services. He even put out her information on Craigslist. The joke was on him though…she actually went out with a guy who contacted her!
71. Like Riding A Bike…
Not a lawyer but my two bosses were married and opened a bike shop together. He was the brains and the backbone since he was a former Olympic mechanic, she just sort of balanced the checkbook and worked a couple of days a week. Unfortunately, he had no credit and she did, so when they opened everything was in her name.
All he wanted in the divorce was the bike shop and was willing to buy her half. She wanted the bike shop too, but didn’t want to buy him out for his half. Mind you, her father passed on and she was sitting on like $300k in the bank (and also had the audacity to take out student loans for her daughter to go to college).
He lost the bike shop and I think he got a little bit of money for his share. But there was something else that she didn’t expect. All of the high-paying customers stopped going there. They were all his friends or they only wanted him to work on their bikes (so I don’t know why she would have had that notion). So he opened up his own bike shop and all of the “regulars” have become regulars at the new bike shop.
72. Run Away Wife
My uncle is a divorce lawyer, but not a very good one. He represented a couple who had recently started getting into some problems. The wife had had enough of married life and just left one night. Her husband was through with her since she left, and went to my uncle for a divorce. My uncle agreed but he kept delaying because he had plans of his own.
While my uncle stalled the husband, he came up with an ingenious plan. He did what he knew was in everyone’s best interest. My uncle hired a private investigator to search for the missing wife. Fortunately, he eventually found her and talked her into going back to her husband. Things worked out in the end…but my uncle might be the worst divorce lawyer in the country.
73. Divorce, The Family Game
I saw a mother and father live together during a divorce and fight over the location of their children’s Xbox and Wii. At first, the gaming consoles were in the family living room. The father then put the consoles in his bedroom so that the children would spend all of their time in his bedroom. The mother literally went to court to have the Xbox and Wii returned to the living room. They spent thousands on this.
74. Debarred And Divorced
I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve got a story about one. There was a case in which a man found out that his wife was having an affair. Heartbroken, the man found a divorce lawyer. In court, the husband learned a brutal truth. His lawyer was the man his wife was having the affair with. Of course, the lawyer got his license taken away after that.
75. Absolutely Awful
The husband was severely screwed over by the wife purely because she could. She divorced him in a no-fault state, providing her with immediate out-of-pocket support from him until the end of the divorce, as well as all bills paid. Now this doesn’t sound so bad…if the wife wasn’t a horrible, vindictive monster. He’s a gentleman, you know…the good husband type.
But she just kept at it, arguing with family, persecuting the children, overdosing on sleeping pills, the works. The woman was an absolute train wreck. And due to the laws of the state, despite firing four attorneys, and telling all of them “Oh just send the attorney costs to my husband, have him pay,” the court just shrugged their shoulders. And the divorce carried on for nearly four years because the state did not require a settlement be made.
She just kept declining all of his offers while continuing to bask in free income. It even got to the point where he was offering half a million dollars over the next four years. She rejected the offer. Over those four years, his appearance and personality was like that of a president serving a term. It was absolutely awful to see.
76. Let’s Break Up The Bank
A friend of mine is a divorce lawyer. His favorite story is the time that the husband in a bitter divorce said that he would “out-lawyer” his wife and break the bank before giving her anything she wanted. He said this in front of my friend, her lawyer. My friend looks at the wife and says, “I’m working for you pro bono (free) from this moment forward.”
77. Think About The Children
I took a domestic relations class run by a retired judge who told us a few good stories. My favorite was a story where both parties in a divorce were acting unreasonably and not thinking of the kids. In the end, the judge awarded the house to the kids who would live there permanently while the parents—who had joint custody—would take turns living there.
The best thing was that neither party could afford to buy an additional place, so they had to rent a small flat together and also share that.
78. Oh, Brother!
I had a case in where the husband found some incriminating texts on his wife’s phone. He suspected that she was cheating on him with some guy. What’s more, is that he also got the impression that his sister-in-law (his brother’s wife) might be in on it in some way. He and his brother end up hiring a private investigator to tail both of their wives to get to the truth. But the truth can hurt…
The brothers essentially confirmed that both women were seeing other people. My client’s sister-in-law admitted to carrying on an affair. His brother attempted to reconcile but eventually filed for divorce. My client’s wife admitted that she was looking for an affair but only “met for some kisses” and she “touched him a little bit.” He filed for divorce anyway.
79. Race To The Bottom<
No lawyer, but at the time I worked on bank equipment, my favorite was opening safety deposit boxes for the bank. So I was asked to get there before the bank opened which was odd. I show up and greet the bank employee along with a lawyer and a very angry-looking woman. I get the lock open and swing the door open as the angry woman shouts “Let me in there!”
I step outside the vault. All of a sudden, all I hear is a stream of complete profanity. She storms off, but as she walked away, she threw down a piece of paper that said “Screw you, witch.” It had been a nasty divorce, and the ex-husband got there before she did.
80. To The Clink!
My dad is a retired lawyer and he got this story from a judge. A man and a woman went through an unhappy divorce, and their poor kids got stuck in the middle. The wife got custody and the man got visitation rights but, apparently, that wasn’t good enough for her. She made parental alienation her goal in life. So, her ex-husband took her to court over this and she actually ended up behind bars for contempt more than once.
The judge who told this story to my dad finally told the man, “I can throw her back in prison as many times as you want, but there’s no winner in this.”
81. I Want The News, Not The Weather…
I used to work for a judge when two prominent local news personalities were getting a divorce. They filed for mutual restraining orders against each other for an unspecified use of force. The filings were vague on details but still managed to convey a sense of savage levels of blood. When the time came for the hearing, it turned out that the use of force they were referring to was spitting.
Specifically, during a heated argument, flecks of spittle managed to touch the other party. The judge denied the restraining orders, and both parties’ attorneys probably bought new yachts. Such is justice in a divorce.
82. That’s Not My Name
This is the story of a potentially thwarted divorce case. A man and his fiancée were buying a house together. They got to the paper where you sign off on all your aliases. In a Mr. & Mrs. Smith-worthy turn of events, the woman had a full-page’s worth of former names. The guy asked, “What is this?” The woman’s response made his blood run cold.
She nonchalantly replied, “Oh, I’ve been married five times before.” The guy got up and walked out. Crisis averted.
83. “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!”
I was a secretary for an attorney. Divorce can be pretty depressing but it can also be a real laugh. I think that the most entertaining divorce story was when a guy had to get creative in divorcing his wife. He had to have the divorce papers sent to her the newspaper because she wouldn’t leave the house or answer the door for the process server.
84. Don’t Play With My Heart
Lawyer here. One of mine that sticks out is that the husband and wife both played some sort of online role-playing game, sort of like The Sims I think but a little more elaborate and adult (“Second Life” maybe?) I don’t know anything about online games. The wife got heavily involved with the game, like 10 hours a day, and wouldn’t reduce her time playing no matter what he said.
What tipped things over the edge, however, was that he set up a fake profile/ avatar and went online to stalk her in the game and found her avatar hooking up with some random guy’s avatar. Nothing ever happened in real life (neither of them were exactly oil paintings to look at), but that was enough for the guy to initiate a fairly acrimonious divorce.
85. Holy Matrimony Is Not A Heist Movie
My favorite divorce story of all time. My buddy meets girl, gets married, la di da. Six months later, she runs off with another dude. After a couple of months, my buddy filed for divorce. He told her, “Listen, we’ve been married six months. Let’s do an uncontested divorce since you haven’t worked or anything. I own everything and I did before I met you.”
She puts up a fight and eventually comes to, “I had a car coming into this marriage and I’m leaving with one” (she sold her car for some dumb stuff). He offers her the truck, 10 years old with 150k miles, but meticulously maintained. She said nope, so off to court they go. She got zip, nada, empty-handed.
86. Challenge Accepted
A friend of mine is a divorce lawyer. His favorite is the time the husband in a bitter divorce got some slimy lawyer and said he would out-lawyer her and break the bank before giving her anything she wanted. This was in front of my friend, who just happened to be her lawyer. He looks at her and says, “I’m working for you pro bono (free) from this moment forward.”
He looks back at the jerk of a husband and says, “I got all day.”
87. Take Your Licks and Get Out
My parents got divorced when I was 12. I am sketchy on the details, but I remember it was long, drawn-out, and acrimonious. Eventually, my mum was awarded a massive settlement; my dad was basically left with superannuation and nothing else. After the ruling was handed down, my mother’s own lawyer walked into my father and his lawyer’s meeting and said, “That ruling was really bad, you should appeal.” Gotta be pretty bad when a lawyer wants his own win overturned.
He didn’t appeal. He was a bit broken by that point and just wanted to move on.
88. Work To Rule
A woman in my town is a Principal at a local elementary school. She is in her mid-70s (at least). I asked someone why she doesn’t retire, and they explained that she and her spouse went through a very contentious divorce about 15 years ago and she has to give him a portion of her retirement, so she has decided to NEVER retire so he gets nothing ever! Hahahahaha.
89. He’s the One Who Felt the Burn
The couple separated a decade ago but didn’t officially divorce until a couple of years ago. She was going to get his house, so he burned it down then faxed her the transfer of ownership forms. He might be thrown behind bars for arson though.
90. Who Is The Sick One?
My ex’s brother helped his friend (he was friends with the couple, but clearly “chose” the guy) hide assets and wash cash in the six months leading up to a “Surprise, I’m divorcing you!” by the friend to his now ex and deceased wife. His reasoning was absolutely cold-blooded. He did this because she had just been diagnosed with cancer.
She was not going to live, and he didn’t see why “his money” should go to “her health care” when she was going to “die in a few years” anyway.
91. And…The Honeymoon Is Over
I worked for a firm while in college. We had a client who had just come home from a two-week vacation with his wife. But she wasn’t going to be his wife for much longer. As soon as they pulled into the driveway, his wife’s lawyers served him with divorce papers and a temporary restraining order. His wife didn’t say a word and just went into their house.
The poor guy came straight to our office and was massively confused. What happened on that vacation?
92. Grab Your Pitchforks…
I’ve been a divorce lawyer for more than 20 years, so I’ve seen it all. I once represented a husband divorcing his wife of over 35 years. At mediation, they divided up about a half-million in assets within 30 minutes—and then things went south. They spent the next two and half hours fighting over a couple of hurricane glasses from Pat O’Brien’s and a pitchfork.
$1,000 in attorney fees later, they settled…and then got remarried anyway.
93. 40 Acres And A Whole Lot Of Revenge
I knew a wealthy landowner who went to some extreme lengths to get even after a divorce. He lost his home to his ex-wife in the divorce proceedings but kept his trump card. He was able to keep the rest of the undeveloped neighborhood land and turned it into an industrial park. In other words, he surrounded his ex-wife’s huge house with a ton of factories.
94. The Most Expensive Therapy Ever
My client (the husband) was living in the same house as his wife throughout the divorce proceedings. He’d call me and complain about things like: his wife ate a bag of chips and didn’t replace it, she invited one of her friends over who he disliked, she binged watched TV instead of fixing dinner, etc., etc. He paid me $250/hour for the privilege of venting over the phone to an attorney.
95. It’s A Love Lockdown
There was this lady who was going through a nasty divorce. Her husband had all of her possessions moved into a storage locker. He quit paying for the storage locker and conveniently failed to tell his ex-wife that it wasn’t being paid for any longer. My buddy who buys storage lockers said that he saw the lady showing up with law enforcement officers in tears at the auction sale after someone else had already purchased the locker.
Law enforcement told her there was nothing they could do, that this is a civil case and she would have to pursue it through the courts. In other words, someone else had just purchased all of her life’s belongings and memories for pennies on the dollar.
96. Show Me The Money, Or Else
I’ve worked as an assistant for two family law attorneys for the last eight years. One of the cases that made me the angriest was a man who cheated on his wife when she had cancer. He then leaves his wife and attempts to hide all his assets while she’s undergoing chemotherapy. Fortunately, my boss is a rockstar. She teamed up with a forensic accountant, and they took him to the cleaners.
He even had to pay the forensic accountant’s bill and the attorney fees.
97. Bringing Down The House
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers, only to make a disturbing discovery. She had vandalized and abandoned our former home in response to my leaving. I went over to find almost all of my clothes had been bleached, along with our new living room set. The new dining room table and chairs had been gouged.
A weeks’ worth of trash and raw food had been left out. The refrigerator had been turned off, leaving hundreds of dollars worth of food to rot. The whole place smelled. She had also taken all of the electronics (probably to hawk), my passport with stamps in it from around the world, and the painting I had inherited from my beloved grandfather who had passed on. She knew this would hurt me the most.
All said and done, there was $7,000 in property damage and another $1,500 in stolen property. I filed a report but sadly, not much was done about it.
98. Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold, Depending on the Season…
The wife cheated on her husband during his frequent travels for work. She was the one who filed for divorce, and she got to keep the house. Months elapse and the husband is still furious, rightfully so, but has no recourse. Then he has an epiphany: “I wonder if she changed the password to the Nest Thermostat?” She did not.
For the next year, he continues to mess with the thermostat. In the middle of summer when they’re sleeping in HIS bed, he turns the heat on to 90 degrees at 3 AM. Middle of winter? Time to shut off the heat and hope the pipes freeze. Away on vacation? Turn the air conditioning down to 55 and let it run 24/7 for a nice surprise bill when they get home.
99. “Come Here, Horrible Witch Who I Will Never Forgive”
My uncle represented this guy getting a divorce from his wife of 15 years. Super toxic breakup and they split everything 50/50, even the land that the house they lived in sat upon. Well, she decides to build a house right behind the other house, mind you this was a lot of land, probably 200 yards separating both home sites, so that the back of the houses faced each other.
The house gets built and my uncle gets a call from his client asking about the legality of a situation he had gotten himself into. Apparently, his ex-wife would spend a lot of time in her backyard, so he saw her all the time. What he did was buy a female dog and name it the same name as his ex-wife.
100. The Wedding Photographer
I represented the husband in a divorce. On the day of the trial, opposing counsel presented shocking evidence. The wife’s attorneys produced photographs that they claimed proved adultery. The photos were of my client, the husband, wearing lingerie and a long brown wig, engaging in act of intimacy with another man. I was able to successfully exclude this from evidence…because the wife was the photographer.
101. Not A Lucky Divorce
This woman won $1.3million in a lottery pool and filed for divorce 11 days later. She never mentioned her lottery winnings to her husband. She also did not disclose the proceeds during the divorce. She would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for a letter that arrived at their former marital residence over two years after the divorce…
The letter was an offer to buy out her lottery annuity with a lump sum payment. The husband promptly lawyered up and the family court awarded 100% of the prize proceeds to him.