November 27, 2023 | Dancy Mason

The Pettiest Divorce Cases


Great parents teach their children how to be good people. They show kids how to be kind and respectful toward others. But what happens when mom and dad’s relationship breaks down and they’re not-so-great to each other? The following stories show us that some parents could use a serious time-out.


1. No Dish Towel Left Behind

I recently had the job of notarizing a form for a divorcing couple. The contents of the form really surprised me. It was the silliest letter I've ever come across. It listed the division of their belongings down to the tiniest detail, like, "Josh gets the three black dish towels, Tina keeps two coffee mugs from the San Diego Zoo". The list was full of such arbitrary items.

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It went on to include things like a can opener from a Christmas set, a fresh pack of Oral-B toothbrush heads, an unused $50 gift card from Applebees, a silver reading light with a page clip, and so on. I had to wonder what was going through their minds.

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The icing on the cake was that they were in the midst of a heated debate over who gets what while I was there notarizing the form.

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2. A Dog’s Life

While I was studying law, I took up an internship at a family law clinic. Most of my clients were pretty sensible, but I often saw some hugely spiteful and awful behavior from others at the courthouse.

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One particular incident was incredibly shocking.

There was this guy who won custody of the family dog in his divorce. He threatened to put down the dog if he wasn't given more time with his kids. His argument was that without the kids, the dog wouldn't receive the care it required, and thus, it would be in the dog's best interest to be gone.

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The mother of his children made a heartfelt appeal to the judge, showing photos of their children playing with the dog and videos of their kids expressing their affection for the pet. It was evident that they'd be heartbroken if the dog was euthanized. The judge attempted to reason with the man, but she couldn't do much.

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The divorce agreement considered the dog as the man's property, meaning he could do whatever he wished with it, as long as he didn't break the state's anti-neglect laws. Eventually, to save the dog's life, his ex-wife gave in and allowed him to see their children almost every weekend of the month.

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The judge deserves praise for rebuking the man like I've never seen before or ever since in my legal career. She warned him to look after both the dog and his kids carefully, as she would be keeping a close eye on the situation.

She mentioned that, should anything unfortunate happen to the dog, she would swiftly call for a hearing to reassess his visitation privileges, hinting that the revised schedule could be massively unfavorable for him.

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That day, I decided that being a family lawyer just wasn't for me.

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3. The Travel Bug

I used to work at a law firm that specialized in family issues. I remember this one couple who painstakingly put together a separation agreement. After months filled with meetings, mediations, countless letters and revised drafts, they figured things out.

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Well, mostly. There was just one absurdity. 

They were unable to agree on who gets the air miles, of all things. Believe it or not, this minor issue forced them to take the matter to court. All that fuss just over some airline miles.

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4. School Daze

A couple ended up barring their child from college; they were too engrossed in squabbling about who'd foot the bill to consider jointly signing for his tuition loans.

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It must be asked, why hadn't either parent raised this issue half a year prior when they knew their son was college-bound?

Their shared response was blaming the other for failing to discuss the imminent tuition fees. Curiously, they were both aware of the due dates for months, yet each presumed the other would handle payment.

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Notably, they didn't bring their dispute to court until it was too late to pay for the upcoming semester.

Speculation suggests the unfortunate kid had to secure loans single-handedly—the predicament he's in now, who's to say? Ironically, the feuding parents each shelled out an amount equal to the tuition for legal fees, only for the court to command that they split their son's educational costs.

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A word of advice—divorce is not the solution.

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5. I Wish This Wasn’t True

I used to work in a lawyer's office where one of the attorneys was handling a divorce case involving a child who was suffering from a severe illness, only expected to live a few more years. The parents were battling over what the child's "dream" should be for a charity similar to Make-A-Wish.

As far as I know, the judge really gave both parents a talking-to when this matter surfaced, but ultimately couldn't decide how the "dream" would be fulfilled. It seems that because of the dispute it instigated between the parents, the child declined the dream in the end.

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Learning about this case really stuck with me and affected me for some time.

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6. I Should Have Gone To Dental School

This was the toughest situation I've ever been involved in. In California, we have certain rules that must be followed before a parent is allowed to relocate with their child. These rules come into play when the other parent's time with the child could be significantly affected.

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The client in this case was the mother who worked as a dental hygienist. She had children from her first marriage with a dentist. The mother was leaving her first husband, the dentist, for another man who was also a dentist. 

She desired to move with her children to the new town where the second dentist lived, so that she could work in his practice and have a shorter commute, among other things.

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The town where the second dentist lived was only a 25-minute drive away from her ex-husband, which wasn't a big distance.

Combined, the two dentists ended up spending close to 400k just to dispute over a move that was merely 25 minutes away. It was at this point that I came to the realization that I made a major error.

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Instead of becoming a lawyer, I should have become a dentist.

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7. Happy Faces Everyone

After graduating from law school, my first profession was working as a Staff Attorney for the Trial Court. Basically, this was similar to being a judicial law clerk which required us to carry out extensive research and draft advisory memos for judges.

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Though I didn't directly handle family law cases, my colleague in the same office did. 

One interesting situation happened when she received an Emergency Motion related to a family law dispute. An Emergency Motion is known to be applied when the matter is extremely important and needs immediate attention.

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Once the judge identifies that it is indeed an urgent case, the hearing will be fast-tracked. 

This means you will get to be heard significantly sooner—in just a few days, rather than the typical weeks or months usually required to schedule a hearing. The specifics of this case were truly unbelievable.

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The Emergency Motion in this instance was intended to force an ex-spouse to enroll their child in Happy Faces Daycare. 

The argument was that if the child fails to attend this particular daycare, they would suffer irreparable harm due to a lack of social interaction and so forth.

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An emergency situation over a daycare choice. Needless to say, this didn't really qualify as an "emergency" in my book.

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8. Make Mine A Double

The couple split up when their only child was just four years old. Initially, the father didn't want custody—as long as he could keep his treasured CDs, he was fine. That was until he realized he would have to pay child support.

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To cut down on the costs, he agreed to look after his son two days a week. However, a dramatic moment in court changed everything.

During this one important day in court, their young son casually showed the court-appointed counselor a peculiar skill his dad had taught him.

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He could perfectly tell when he had poured a full shot of bourbon. It also came out that his father would take him to places like local bars during happy hour and pawn shops.

Hearing this, the court decided to grant full custody to the mother, who decided to start afresh in a different state.

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9. Josie 

I work as a paralegal specializing in family law and I recall a notable event. It involved a couple, in the process of getting a divorce. They seemed practical, reaching an agreement on the splitting of assets. But, the deliberation over the custody of their children triggered a full week of fiery debates.

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The couple had three children aged four, nine, and ten. Oddly, they exclusively mentioned the name "Josie", while discussing custody. No child went by that name, or anything similar. Inquisitive, my lawyer finally asked about Josie's identity. The response left him taken aback. Josie was their pet cat.

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Alarmingly, they appeared indifferent about their children's future, but were fiercely disputing over who would keep the family cat.

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10. Smile For The Camera

I once acted as legal counsel for a mother who consistently disregarded my advice, constantly taking steps to undermine the father to gain an advantage in their struggle for custody of their two children.

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While I had initially jumped on her case after she had secured a restraining order against their father, I eventually began suspecting her claims may be invented.

Over time, it became clear to me that her intention behind the restraining order wasn't for protection, it was a tool to make his life difficult.

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One particular instance, she coaxed her teenage babysitter—who she later admitted to having a romantic connection with—to lure the dad. 

The babysitter contacted the father in sheer panic saying one of their children was not breathing and although she phoned for help, the authorities were yet to arrive.

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 This was all part of the mother's scheme. 

She contacted the authorities informing them the dad was intending to breach the restraining order by coming to her house under the illusion of saving his child. Her plot unfolded as planned and the father was taken in by officers upon his arrival.

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He spent an entire weekend in custody for violating the order. 

Not stopping at that, she attempted to plant illicit substances in the father’s car through a relative that same week while tipping off the authorities. Her aim was to completely end the father's custody and visitation rights.

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Thankfully, the relative assigned with this task had a change of heart at the eleventh hour, revealing the scheme to the father. Looking back, this was the only time I had to sever ties with a client in light of such deeply objectionable behavior.

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11. Snack Time

The mother encouraged her 11-year-old son to sneak into his father's apartment through a window, aiming to "dig up dirt against him". Despite grabbing his usual snack, the boy usually emerged without revealing anything.

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The father was innocent, yet the mother was convinced that allowing every other week overnight visitation for 12 hours was excessive. 

When the son spilled the beans to his father, a judge stepped in to resolve the situation.

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12. Petty Misdeeds

While awaiting my client's turn in the courtroom, I observed a case that was ridiculously trivial. A mom had submitted a request to adjust her custody schedule for their daughter.

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The parents currently shared joint custody, yet the mom desired to start her alternate weekends at 8:00 am on Fridays, instead of 3:00 pm.

Given that the daughter's school hours were from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, this proposed change in visitation would not make any significant difference, even if approved.

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What made the situation incredibly ridiculous was the fact that the daughter was about to graduate from high school in less than two months and would be turning 18 in a week. 

After enduring about 5-10 minutes of the parents bickering back and forth, the judge voiced a loud sigh of frustration, reprimanding both parents to "grow up" and not return to her courtroom. Now that's an example of an insignificant dispute.

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13. Must Love Toast

For a time, my dad was a family court lawyer and in the summer, his office was my hangout spot. I remember this one couple who were always at each other's throats arguing about a toaster, but showed apathy when it came to the custody of their child. And believe me, that's not even the craziest part.

The toaster wasn't a deluxe model or anything, it was just a simple two-slot toaster, nothing fancy about it—worth only 30 bucks. Now, their child was a different story; pretty awesome kid.

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He must have been about 11 then, and when my dad asked him about his preference for where he wanted to live, he chose Grandpa. 

I sincerely hope that he got to live with his grandpa in the end.

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14. Shoelaces And Bullets

My sister had an internship at a family court.

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She witnessed an event where a child's shoelaces were undone. The mother asked the father to tie them up. He responded by saying he rather not. This led to a tense situation where she began threatening his life. In reaction, he started doing the same thing to her.

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Thus, there they were, both voicing their murderous intentions in front of their child, all over tying a pair of shoelaces.

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15. Money Is No Object

Two people came to me and another top-notch attorney, having spent a total of $3,000 to haggle over a child support payment of either $13 per month or $30 per month.

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They shared custody of their 13-year-old equally. 

I took the challenge of demonstrating to my client that what they paid me was more than the overall difference they would have paid or saved with child support for remaining years. Nevertheless, they insisted on proceeding.

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16. The Queen Of Contempt

Family law can be quite tough to stomach.

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One of the most challenging situations I've seen is still persisting: A father repeatedly files urgent court petitions just as any court order is about to be finalized, simply because "he does not agree" with the stipulations that his own lawyer prepared based on his preferences. 

Furthermore, the mother prevents the child from seeing the father (in open defiance of the court ruling) whenever the father's new wife is present at the child handover.

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But the story doesn't end there. If the mother spots anyone other than the father in the parking lot for the exchange, she hastily leaves. 

Both parents have taken legal steps to obtain restraining orders against each other, only to withdraw them later. Their latest court order was a staggering 18 pages long (consider that custody orders usually range from two to three pages) because it went into painstaking detail about every facet of their interactions.

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I can only hope that I won't be trapped once more in the middle of their ongoing dispute.

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17. Mommy-Not-So-Dearest

A dad kept detailed notes about how much time his ex-wife was spending with their daughter. He used a pink marker to denote her time and a blue one for his own.

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The mother entered the formal discussion expecting full custody, significant child support, and ownership of their house. The father responded by revealing calendars from the past three years as evidence.

Based on his records, the mother had spent less than a month with their daughter over the three years.

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The mother wasn't pleased with the ultimate decision.

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18. Trickster

A mother and father, no longer together, were living separately with relatives. School wasn't on, and without a formal custody arrangement yet, they were taking turns each week watching their children. One day, the mother sent the father an email claiming she'd enrolled the children in a local school, which immediately sent the father to his lawyer.

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The lawyer acted quickly, lodging a court request for an interim custody order that would remain in effect until the divorce wrapped up. Accordingly, the mother received an official notice about an upcoming court hearing. 

Interestingly, on the day of the hearing, the mother was a no-show, leaving the judge with no other course of action but to award custody to the father, the only parent present that day.

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 But hold on, there's more to it.

The mystery of the mother's absence was due to a misunderstanding; she thought she was being fooled by her husband's lawyer. So she rang the court to verify the date of the hearing and was under the impression that they informed her of a date that happened to fall on a Sunday.

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Hence, she inadvertently forfeited her custody rights.

And the plot twist? She never even attempted to enroll the children in a school near her.

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19. Mine And Yours

Two parents were in the process of separating, and within the hearing range of their two sons and myself, the father made a shocking comment to the mother. He said, "You can keep that one, but I want this one"! Can you believe someone would actually say that?

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20. Just Deserts

The ex-husband didn't want to settle his financial obligations to his ex-wife. He believed that by dragging out the payment process with numerous appeals, he could make her life miserable. Sadly, their children were also caught in the crossfire. She was urgently in need of the funds, and he was aware of this.

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As a result of his actions, she lost her job and had to move back in with her folks. When he eventually paid up, she was able to not just move out but purchase a house outright. In the end, he had to fork out not only the full settlement amount but also child maintenance, his own legal charges, and hers as well.

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21. Cut From The Same Cloth

I've come across some serious instances of pettiness, but one story stands out, shared by my guardian ad litem professor. She recalled a client she had from her practice years. This client's ex-wife was incredibly exacting and obsessive about making sure all their children's clothes were returned to her from his home after the kids had visited him.

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If even a single sock was missing, she'd no doubt blow a gasket. So, this dad came up with an outrageous solution. He'd have the kids change into specific clothes kept at his house as soon as they arrived for his custody time. 

When it was time for the kids to return to their mom's, they'd have to change again, back into the clothes she had sent them in.

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22. Trouble Down Under

At present, I'm dealing with a case in which I'm representing a father. Every time he does something that isn't to the mother's liking, she retains custody of their kids. She once wanted to pull them out of their school where they'd been since kindergarten, and relocate them an hour away.

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The father didn't consent to this and as a result, he hasn't been able to see the kids for three months while we contest this development. Earlier, the father had not agreed to another excessive demand from the mother, leading her to keep the children away for an additional three months.

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Currently, the father is dealing with a significant health crisis. There's uncertainty about his recovery and how much time he'll get to spend with his children, which adds another layer of misfortune to this narrative. The family court system, at least here in Australia, moves at a sluggish pace and lacks adequate funds and resources.

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Navigating such a system proves extremely challenging, especially when one parent is absolutely inflexible.

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23. Life Lessons

Customers have handed over serious cash to me so I can fight for them in court. They want their ex to cough up anywhere from $50 to $500. They often say, "It's all about the principle"! Sure thing, whatever you say.

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These folks are convinced they can teach their ex a lesson through family court, one that will somehow transform their ex for the better.

Despite my best efforts and countless attempts to explain, they just don't get it—it's not going to work. The disagreeable ex, ma'am, remains just that, even after a court order declaring his contempt.

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He's bound to repeat his past actions because that's just who he is.

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24. Moneyball

I recall dealing with an amusing case some time ago involving a rather underhanded father. He had been purchasing a money order each month for child support, but there was a sneaky twist. Rather than actually handing over the money orders to the mother, he was holding onto them.

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To us, he presented all those money orders he had purchased as proof of his payments, while she insisted she had never received them. The situation felt kind of perplexing. With time, we discovered the truth—he had been keeping the money orders all along. 

Amazingly, he thought he could use the original, months-old money orders to catch up on the backlog of unpaid child support.

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He was certainly held in contempt. People never cease to surprise me with their absurdity.

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25. Parents Behaving Badly

Here's a story that involves a colleague of mine, a lawyer where I work. It's about a couple who were locked in a custody battle over their two kids, following a particularly nasty divorce.

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The ex-wife came up with a plan to make a profile for her ex-husband on the Ashley Madison website as a scheme to prove his unfaithfulness—she hoped this could help her out in the court case.

In the meantime, the woman had found a new partner, a youth pastor at their local church.

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They both alleged that the ex-husband was involved with a young girl from their congregation, as per something the girl had confided in the pastor. In response, the husband persuaded one of their kids to tell a tale about their mom not feeding them properly. 

The pastor answered this by setting the husband's car on fire.

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As for the initial reason they broke up: the husband had been unfaithful, contracting an infection in the process, which he then passed on to his wife. In the end, the ex-wife was granted custody, and the husband decided to relocate to Central America.

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26. Courtroom Romance

My client was a man who'd recently spent two years behind bars, understandably causing friction in his marriage.

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When his wife brought the kids over for a visit, his son shared shocking news, saying his uncle had hit him. The father promptly filed a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order against his wife and her brother, which was granted. 

Next, he requested sole custody of the kids, and that was granted too.

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For roughly two months, the children lived with him until the custody hearing was scheduled. True to form, my boss tossed the file my way, leaving me to manage the negotiations and the last-minute details. 

As we started mediation, the father and his wife could barely look at each other without seething.

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They sat with their arms crossed, glaring fiercely at one another. The opposing lawyer and I retreated to another room to hash out the details and understand our clients' desires better. But upon our return, we were stunned. 

Our clients had vanished. Somehow, in the brief ten minutes that we were away, the father and mother reconciled, showing their newfound harmony with an unexpected make-out session in the hallway.

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And then, they left together. With that, the case was dismissed. Did I mention this was a case I was handling for free?

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27. A Sugary Scam

I once worked on a case involving a father who was trying to gain full custody of his diabetic child. At the time, the mother held full custody rights.

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The child's diabetes required both parents to keep track of his daily sugar levels using a glaucometer. What I found was that whenever the father returned the child to his mother, he would give the child a candy bar first.

In court, I presented the recorded glucose levels.

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The numbers revealed that the child's sugar intake was excessively high whenever he was with his mother, which helped us secure full custody for the father. At the moment, I was oblivious to the father's candy bar routine. My job was simply to deliver and discuss the glucose levels data in court.

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28. Meet The Flintstones

In my initial role as a lawyer, I was a clerk for a state appeals court. The cases we dealt with ranged across various fields, including Family Law, and we would review decisions made by lower courts. Each case we received had a case file detailing every action taken during the trial, from court proceedings transcripts to the briefs from everyone involved.

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Usually, you could tell the nature of the case just by the size of the case file. And this brings me to the topic of divorce cases. Not all divorce cases are required to go to appeals, so the ones we saw were the ones in which the ex-couples couldn't reach a conclusion in divorce court.

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To put it simply, this meant that at least one of the exes wanted a second shot at winning the trial. These case files filled up drawers and were measured in feet rather than inches, especially if children were involved. Basically, these individuals couldn't agree on co-parenting, leading them to constantly visit the trial court over the smallest matters.

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From deciding schooling particulars, crafting diet plans, determining religious practices and extracurricular activities, to renegotiating child support and revisiting custody orders, you'd see it all. They would even squabble over how the other was spending time with their child.

It's alarming to note that each court proceeding doesn't come cheap.

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I once worked on a case where a father contested the mother giving their child multivitamins, resulting in hundreds of dollars in attorney costs over a children's chewable. Often, these disputes were not about the children but were ways to manipulate and control the ex via the children.

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What these parties often failed to realize is that by refusing to co-parent, they were generally sidelining their role as parents and letting the judge take charge. In trying to control each other, they ended up losing control and power.

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29. Time To Grow Up

As a family lawyer in Canada, let me tell you, competent lawyers oftentimes have to pull up their clients on their mistakes.

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We aren't eager about defending trivial issues in court—our credibility counts. Despite this, there have been instances where folks called my office in a huff because my client refused to let them fetch their baby at 10 pm, even though they were running four hours late for a visit.

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The same former partner once stated, "My son is incredibly ahead of his peers. I think he should decide when he wants to see his mother". Bear in mind, this child was only two years old.

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30. Family Time

I wasn't directly involved in this, but I found myself waiting in court and ended up witnessing a divorce proceeding.

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The couple in question was stuck in disputes as they struggled to settle on their child's custody. However, things weren't unfolding the way they usually do. 

Both parents appeared so self-centered and failed to consider how their busy "schedules" might affect their little four-year-old. 

"I work Fridays, Judge, so I can't look after him then". 

"I'm no different; I also have my hands full on Fridays. Besides, my entire weekend is typically consumed by on-call duties". 

"I face a similar situation, but despite that, I am already compromising my Tuesdays for him. It's high time she takes Fridays off to look after him". 

This made me really sad.

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31. The Clothes Off Their Backs

In this scenario, two parents going through a divorce were upset with each other regarding who was responsible for their child's clothing. My client arranged to meet at a place like Dunkin Donuts to pick up their child and there was a disagreement about the child's clothes.

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Instead of the mother letting the child go with the clothes she was dressed in, she made the child wear the same clothes that my client had sent her with, and they were no longer clean. We certainly brought up this incident at the following court hearing.

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32. Garbage Corn

I used to work as a Family Law Assistant and my mother was a paralegal in the same field. They once dealt with a really heartbreaking case. The mother, who struggled with mental health issues, had supervised visitation rights. The father, who had since remarried, had a somewhat peculiar new wife who kept a tight control on what her stepchildren ate.

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It went to the extent of locking up all the food. A case was brought against him by his ex-wife for custody after a neighbor alerted her that one of the kids was secretly consuming raw canned corn. The poor child felt compelled to sneak the canned food, consume it in secret, and then dispose of the can in the neighbour's trash to hide the fact.

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This incident really broke my heart. 

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33. Sliced And Diced

One story that always sticks in my mind involves a lawyer who had unfortunately gone through a nasty divorce. We were taking a break from a hefty schedule, and as the judge left the room, my associate ditched his blazer. What I saw next made my jaw DROP.

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His shirt was torn to shreds at the back. Curious, I asked him just what on Earth had happened. He responded nonchalantly, "Well, the ex-wife booted me out again. She ripped all of my shirts and tossed them on the front yard"!

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34. Not The Way She Wanted It

A woman sought a restraining order with the hopes of securing the family home during the divorce process.

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Unfortunately, this turned out to be a tactical blunder. Her husband was earning an impressive $200k per year from his well-paying job. However, upon discovering the restraining order, his employer decided to let him go. 

He worked in a niche area, meaning the only job he found that was close to his home and daughter paid only $50k.

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Due to his diminished salary, his child support payments fell to under $500 monthly. This forced the wife to find waitressing work. As a result of the financial crunch, they were unable to maintain payments for their four vehicles, leading to repossession of the cars. 

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35. Dad Of The Year

During the divorce mediation process, the father was unwilling to allow his middle son to obtain his driver's license to transport himself and his younger brother to school.

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Instead, the agreement was that the eldest son, who already holds a license, would be responsible for driving his younger siblings every alternate week that they stay at their mother's house.

The eldest son was less than enthusiastic about this, as their mother's house was situated 25 miles away from the school.

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The father then stipulated that he would only consent to this arrangement if the eldest son was also issued a medical card for weed. 

However, he stipulated that his son was not allowed to use  the day before or on the day he was to drive his younger brothers. The mother's attorney quickly got this condition dismissed.

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The mother felt that associating her eldest son's name with substances on any official document, even if it is for medical use, could potentially harm his future prospects. 

It's safe to say that the father's behavior here leaves a lot to be desired.

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36. A Direct Line To The Devil

My client was a dad who enjoyed a respectable management position at his job, which came with a generous salary and flexible hours.

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One time, he brought his new girlfriend to court to deliver an important document. 

However, the soon-to-be ex-wife noticed his girlfriend, and shockingly enough, recognized she was from the same company her husband worked at. In response, she devised a fierce scheme for payback. She promptly dialed their company's ethics hotline.

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A domino effect ensued—and her ex-husband was demoted at his workplace. With the demotion, his pay stub suffered a massive deduction making it impossible for him to contribute toward spousal support and could afford only a minimal amount for child support. 

Moreover, he was robbed off the flexible work schedule that had proved beneficial for managing the daycare.

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To add insult to injury, his new girlfriend called it quits. All things considered, everyone ended up at the losing end.

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37. A Gut Feeling

A pair of parents were at odds about who should be taking care of the kids, at what time, where, and in what way. They'd linger outside of each other's houses at all hours, specifically during the expected visitation or custody periods and often phoned the authorities with claims of a noise issue, based merely on a "hunch".

The court eventually stepped in due to concerns of child neglect, deciding that the kids should be removed from both parents.

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They were then sent to a boarding school.

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38. Whoops

A couple with two children, including one with special needs, decided to divorce. The judge put everything in perspective, including child support, at the initial hearing. Given the husband's high income, the anticipated child support was quite sizable.

However, a new law was on the horizon, slated to significantly cut child support rates in future cases.

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But, luckily for the wife, this law wouldn't kick in for several months. If the case concluded before the changes, she would still receive the higher amount. Unfortunately, she derailed this herself.

Come the next hearing, a surprise awaited them in the court—the wife had replaced her Lawyer. Another attorney had convinced her that her special needs child required his expert representation.

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This new lawyer quickly requested the case to extend.

Unexpectedly, this attorney brought several unhelpful issues to the table. By the time these issues were settled, the new law was enacted. The wife's child support under this new law was only 30% of what she would have received under the prior law—quite the oversight.

Worst Parents Experience BehemothShutterstock

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39. How Many Kids?

Once, I found myself in a pre-trial for a family law case, representing a father.

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The mother was allegedly concealing the income made from her home daycare business, claiming she required more financial support from her ex-husband. 

During this pre-trial, the judge inquired about my suspicion about her running a daycare at home. I informed the judge that I had hired a private detective to follow the woman.

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We were able to gather photos of her leading about seven children to a park. 

In response to this, the woman stood up angrily, accusing me of invading her privacy and labeling me as a Peeping Tom. Then, blurted out in her defense, "Anyway, it couldn't have been me, I only look after three kids".

Acts of Generosity FactsWikimedia Commons

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40. 30 Seconds Or Less

Even though I'm just an intern, I remember a time when we were sorting through evidence given to us by our client, who hoped to gain custody of his son.

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One item stood out—a meticulous log tracking whenever the boy's mother was late to pick him up. Now, this would make sense if the tardiness was substantial.

However, looking over six months' worth of exchanges (which were carried out three times each week), the mother had been late by a whopping total of 33 minutes.

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This usually meant that she was one or two minutes behind schedule just once a week. Honestly, this seemed like the least important piece of data I'd ever seen. 

Regardless, our client was set on introducing it into court as "proof" of the mother's irresponsibility.

Dumbest Of The DumbShutterstock

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41. What’s In A Name

Not long after I got my law certification, I found myself in a courtroom for one of the first times overseeing a standard child support case.

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The drama that unfolded wasn't actually linked to my client.

You see, in Family Court, when one person doesn't have a lawyer, there's usually a pre-trial meeting involving Probation Officers. They sort of help the judge shape the case. Probation Officers here, who are accomplished Social Workers, play the role of mediators.

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These two individuals were in a meeting, and you could clearly see the man was getting progressively upset about everything, even though they were slowly hashing out the divorce settlement details. Suddenly, things just blew up. The man stood up angrily and chucked his chair away.

He then began to loudly berate his ex-wife, venting his frustration about how she had taken his house, his kids, and even his beloved dog.

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Then, he made a threatening statement that he would "end her" if she dared to keep his surname, as well. Within a blink, the courtroom security had him restrained and led him to a secluded room.

Ultimately, he found himself facing detention for threatening his ex-spouse. This entire tumult erupted because she had decided to maintain his surname, rather than revert to her maiden name, to simplify things for their children.

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For those curious about the case's outcome, the judge proceeded with the proceedings that day, granting the wife everything she had requested.

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42. Oopsie Daisie

My girlfriend is studying to become a legal assistant in Canada. For one of her classes, she had to observe some courthouse proceedings. I decided to tag along, since anyone can attend these public hearings.

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Initially, we witnessed a few cases concerning debts and such. But the final case revolved around child support.

The mother was requesting that her child support be increased from $1,200 to $3,000 per month. The father didn't seem wealthy at all. He clearly worked a hands-on job and his suit wasn’t the latest fashion. But he appeared to be a decent man.

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The mother, however, was clad in stylish attire replete with a brand-name purse, designer sunglasses positioned on her head, an expensive-looking watch, and various bracelets. She claimed she needed the additional funds each month to stay home with her child because she didn't "trust" daycare centers or babysitters. 

Essentially, she was asking the father to finance her choice to be a stay-at-home mom.

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The judge picked up on the mother's luxurious ensemble and denied her request for increased funds, calling it unreasonable. She suggested that the current child support wasn't being used for its intended purpose, judging not solely on the mother's wardrobe but also her financial records. 

The mother abruptly responded, "No, all of this is fake! My friends and I made these items to save money and we’re trying to sell them to get by". Surprisingly, she publicly confessed to creating and selling fake goods in a packed courtroom without understanding the severity of her admission.

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Kate Spade factsFlickr, ajay_suresh

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43. Just Plain Sad

During my law school days, I was part of a case concerning parents who had tragically lost their child. Even though they had divorced prior to this loss, they were still battling for child support years afterwards. The contention revolved around the recipient of the financial award from the victim's compensation fund, following the loss of their six-year-old child.

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These parents were wealthy—it wasn't a matter of money. Rather, it was about claiming a victory over their ex-partner. They were exploiting the tragedy of losing their child to one-up the other parent, while their remaining children were left helplessly caught up in this strife. 

It was an incredibly petty scenario that left me feeling more dejected than I can put into words.

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Of all the cases I've handled, this was the worst.

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44. Petty With A Capital P

According to a temporary court ruling, my client—the child's mother—was told not to talk about the court case with the child. At a visit, the kid asked her, "When can I see you next"? She replied, "We're figuring that out, but hopefully it'll be soon". 

The dad claimed she was talking about the court case to the kid through this, attempting to use this as a reason to block future visits.

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Richard Pryor factsShutterstock

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45. TopCuts

My father works as a family court judge. He once came across a case where a family was entangled in a custody dispute. The situation was so heated that the mother, out of spite for her ex-husband, gave their son an awful haircut. The whole point was to make him appear unsightly in her ex's upcoming wedding pictures.

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Popular Kids Downfall FactsShutterstock

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46. Something's Fishy

I've witnessed customers shelling out $10,000 for a dispute over a $100 fish tank. Many times, it's not about what they gain, but more about what the other party doesn't...

Dumbest QuestionsPexels

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47. Double Trouble

I once had a meeting lined up with a lady to discuss divorce and child custody. When she arrived for the meeting, another lady accompanied her.

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I initially thought maybe this was a friend or relative who was there to lend emotional support. 

However, it appeared that the second lady wasn't there for moral support, but rather, to talk about a different situation. Lady number one was the wife, and lady number two was the mistress.

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Interestingly, both had children with the same man around the same period. But here's the interesting twist. 

Once the wife discovered the affair, she teamed up with the mistress after getting over her initial fury. They concluded that this man was no good and decided to unite against him.

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This man was in for some tough times, heading towards a long list of divorce, child custody, and maintenance hearings. 

So, the takeaway here, if you don't want to face a team-up later, better not fool around.

Lawyers of redditPexels

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48. Divorcing For Dollars

I'll never forget this one act of spitefulness. I was representing a client who was due to make a $40k payment to their ex-spouse, securing their shared home in the process.

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The exchange was planned to occur in my office, with everyone present: my client, their ex, and the opposing lawyer.

I repeatedly reminded my client both about the meeting and the necessity to bring a bank-issued check for the agreed amount, just as it was stated in the property settlement agreement.

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When the meeting day arrived, my client was a no-show.

Meanwhile, in my office, we were idle, patiently awaiting her arrival around the conference table. That's when things became downright strange. A group of men, who looked like they could've been movers based on their attire, knocked and then entered our conference room.

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Each of them was lugging duffel bags that were then placed on the table.

Bag after bag after bag. Their purpose? My client decided to turn the $40k distribution into a spectacle, withdrawing the entire sum in one dollar bills. Naturally, the opposing lawyer was incredibly furious.

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I also felt necessary to let my client know that I wouldn't continue to represent her. 

Her extreme level of spitefulness had crossed the line.

Co-Worker KarensShutterstock

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49. Hold This For Me

A couple in the process of a divorce could never see eye-to-eye about even a single topic, including the color of the sky.

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They shared a baby together, and their custody handovers occurred at the local station during visitation times. 

One time, right there in the station's reception area, the mother passed the baby to the father, making sure he held the baby securely with both hands. And then, she did something that left me utterly stunned.

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Once assured that the dad's hands were full, the mom launched an attack—she began to pummel him in the face with her fists. 

Unbeknownst to her, the reception area was under constant surveillance, and everything was filmed. She was immediately apprehended by the authorities, but surprisingly, the dad was unsure about pressing charges.

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One of the officers stepped in and told him, "Man, there's no better opportunity to get her to stop this behavior. You have recorded proof, and you've got two officers who witnessed the whole thing". Eventually, he decided to press charges. The mom pleaded guilty to domestic battery charges.

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She was ordered to attend anger management sessions and was also required to pay additional fines and perform community service. Happily, this unfortunate incident ultimately led to a better outcome. They didn't face any more problems regarding their child's custody, and they even started to get along better after that event.

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The Kids of Helicopter ParentsUnsplash, engin akyurt

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50. Garbage Dad

My client was instructed to pack up his estranged wife and child's belongings, then deliver them personally. He assured me everything had transpired smoothly and had followed the judge's orders accordingly. Yet, a shocking reality unfolded later. 

My client had, in fact, packed up and handed over trash to his ex-spouse.

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When questioned about it, he retorted, "My wife only left behind junk. That was her legacy". He even once mentioned the idea of reporting his ex to Child Protective Services (CPS), accusing her of mistreating their daughter. 

Because of an active court order protecting the child from him, I warned him that doing so could put their daughter into state custody.

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His chilling answer was, "She can go to foster care". The same man would also mutter, "I hope you die," under his breath every time his wife passed us in court.

Marriages gone wrongPexels


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Sources:  Reddit,


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