Lawyers’ Pettiest Divorce Tales

Dancy Mason

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 to notarize a form for a couple who was getting a divorce. Its contents blew my mind. This was the most petty letter I have ever seen. It was a letter splitting up their assets to the very last ridiculous thing:


“Josh gets the three black dish towels, Tina keeps two coffee mugs from San Diego Zoo”. The list was full of random items”.

Can opener from the Christmas set, new pack of Oral-b toothbrush heads, unused $50 gift card from Applebees Restaurant, silver reading light with page clip, etc”.


What could they have been thinking?! And to top it all off, while I was sitting with them they were still going at it and arguing about who gets what.


2. A Dog’s Life

During law school I did some intern work for a family law clinic.


The majority of my clients were pretty reasonable, but while waiting for my cases to be heard in the hearing room, I saw some really petty and horrendous behavior from other parties. But one case in particular stood out as the absolute worst.

One guy got custody of the family dog in the divorce, and said that if he didn’t get more visitation with the children he would have the dog euthanized. His excuse was that without the kids there, the dog wouldn’t get the attention it needed and therefore the animal was better off gone.

The ex-wife made an impassioned plea before the judge, showing pictures of the kids playing with the dog and video testimony from the kids expressing their love for the dog. It was clear they would be devastated if it was put down.

The judge tried asking the ex-husband to be reasonable, but in the end her hands were tied. 

Since the dog was the ex-husband’s property per the divorce agreement, he was free to do whatever he wanted, provided it comported with state anti-neglect laws. In the end, his ex-wife relented, giving him child custody rights basically every weekend of the month in order to save the life of the kids’ dog.

To the judge’s credit, she gave the ex husband a verbal haranguing like I’ve never seen in all my years of practicing law since. She warned him that she would be watching this case very closely and would not hesitate referring it to a prosecutor if he slips up in any way either towards the treatment of the dog or the kids. 

She said that if anything happened to that dog, she would fast track a hearing to revisit his visitation rights, and strongly implied the new visitation schedule would be vastly against his favor should that come to pass. On that day I realized I never wanted to be a family lawyer.


3. The Travel Bug

I worked in a law office dealing with family matters. One couple had hammered out a separation agreement over months of meetings, mediation, letters, and drafts, back and forth. There was just one outrageous issue.

They still ended up having to take it to court because they couldn’t agree on who would get the air miles. All for the ridiculous air miles!


4. School Daze

​​One divorcing couple didn’t let their kid get his college education because they were too busy fighting over who was going to pay for it. They never even thought to cosign tuition loans for their kid!

The judge asked why either one didn’t bring this up six months earlier when they knew their son was starting college.

They both gave the same answer, pointing the finger at each other because they didn’t tell the other parent about the tuition.

Apparently, both knew about the deadlines for the previous three months and expected the other to pay for it. The case wasn’t raised in court until after the deadline for the next semester had passed.


The poor kid was probably forced to take out loans on his own, and who knows his situation now? The parents ended up each spending equal to the same amount as the school tuition in adjudication fees just for both to be ordered to pay half of their son’s education.

Never get divorced.


5. I Wish This Wasn’t True

I worked in an attorney’s office and learned about a divorce case one of the attorneys was involved in where the child had been diagnosed with a terminal disease with maybe a few years left to live.

The parents were fighting over what the child’s “wish” should be for one of those Make-A-Wish type of foundations.

I do know the judge chewed both parents out when this issue came up, but ultimately could not make a call on how the “wish” would be granted.

I believe the child ended up refusing the wish on account of the disagreement it had created between the parents. Just hearing about the details of this case messed me up for awhile.


6. I Should Have Gone To Dental School

This is the worst case I was ever a part of.

In California, we have requirements to meet before a parent can move away with a child. These requirements kick in when the other parent’s visitation will be materially impacted. My client was the mother, a dental hygienist.

She had kids with her first husband, a dentist.

She was divorcing her first husband to be with another man who was also a dentist. She wanted to move with the kids to the new dentist’s town so she could work for him and live closer to work, etc.

The second dentist lived in a town that was a 25-minute drive away from her ex, so really not that far.

Between them, the two dentists must have spent nearly 400k fighting over a 25-minute move.

This was also the moment I realized I made a terrible mistake becoming a lawyer when I should have become a dentist.


7. Happy Faces Everyone

My first job out of law school was as a Trial Court Staff Attorney.

This is basically a judicial law clerk, so we did a lot of research and advisory memos for judges. I didn’t cover a family law docket, personally, but my office mate did and one time she got an Emergency Motion in a family law case.


These are filed when something is very time sensitive and critically important. If the judge deems it a true emergency, your matter will be heard on an expedited basis and they’ll fast track you in for a hearing, usually in a matter of days, rather than the usual weeks or months it normally takes to get a hearing date.

 It couldn’t believe the details on this case. 

This particular Emergency Motion was used to try to compel the ex-spouse to send their child to Happy Faces Day Care, because if the child couldn’t go to Happy Faces Day Care, it was going to be irreparably damaged from the lack of social exposure, etc. Emergency. Day Care. Needless to say, this was not an emergency.


8. Make Mine A Double

The parents divorced, and their only son was four years old at the time. The dad said he wasn’t interested in custody as long as he could keep the CD collection. That was until he realized how much he would have to pay in child support.

He retained custody of his kid for two days a week…until one fateful day in court.

On that day, the four-year-old showed the court-appointed counselor the handy trick his father had taught him: How to tell if you had poured a full shot of alcohol.

Apparently the dad would take him to happy hour at a local bar and to pawn shops to look at weapons. Full custody was given to the mom, who then moved out of state.


9. Josie 

I’m a family law paralegal and there is a particular instance that sticks out for me. A man and woman going through a divorce.

They seemed reasonable and agreed on a division of everything. The last item to be discussed was the custody arrangements for their kids. This prompted a full week of argument between both sides. 

They had three kids (four, nine, and 10), but they both only mentioned the name “Josie”. None of the kids were named Josie or anything close.

My attorney finally inquired as to whom Josie was. The answer stunned him. Josie was the cat. These people didn’t seem to care about their real children but were screaming at each other over who would win the family cat.


10. Smile For The Camera

I represented a mom who, despite my advice to the contrary, was always trying to get the dad in trouble to improve her position in the custody battle over their two kids.

Before I took her case, she had successfully obtained a restraining order against the dad. I later strongly suspected her allegations were fabricated. 

It became apparent she had not gotten the restraining order for safety reasons, but rather to harass the dad. On one occasion, the mom convinced her teenage babysitter (whom she later confessed to being in a romantic relationship with) to call the dad, asking him to come quick, claiming that one of the kids wasn’t breathing.

The babysitter told the dad she’d called for help, but the authorities hadn’t shown up yet. The dad, understandably upset, raced to the mom’s house to try to save his child. But he didn’t know the whole, awful story.

The mom had planned the whole thing, and had herself called law enforcement and said that the dad was threatening to come to her house to harm her.

When the dad arrived at the house, law enforcement were already there waiting for him.

He spent the weekend in custody for violating the restraining order. That same week, the mom paid a relative to plant narcotics in the dad’s car, while she tipped off the authorities. She hoped the dad would lose all of his custody and visitation rights.

Fortunately, the relative got cold feet at the last minute and confessed the plan to the dad. To this day, that was the only client I ever dropped due to their morally repugnant actions.


11. Snack Time

The mom had her 11-year-old son climb through a window in the dad’s apartment to “snoop for evidence against him”.

The kid usually ate a snack and came out empty handed. The dad did nothing wrong but the mom thought 12 hours of overnight visitation every other week was too much. The son told his dad and a judge put an end to it.


12. Petty Misdeeds

While waiting in court for my client’s case to be called, I witnessed a case in court that was pretty darn petty. The mom had filed a motion to modify custody for their daughter.

Mom and dad had approximately 50/50 custody, but mom wanted her alternating weekends with her daughter to start at 8:00 am Fridays instead of 3:00 pm.

As the daughter was in school from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, this custody and visitation change, even if granted, would have no practical effect whatsoever.

The most absurd part of the whole thing was that the daughter was less than two months from graduating high school, and a week from turning 18.

The judge let both parents shout over one another for about 5-10 minutes, then sighed loudly and told both of them to “grow up” and not come back to her courtroom.

Talk about petty nonsense.


13. Must Love Toast

My father was a family court attorney for a while and I used to help out around his office during the summers. There was one couple I heard fighting tooth and nail over a toaster but when it came to custody of their child they didn’t seem to care.

 But that’s not even the ridiculous part.

Did I mention they were fighting over a $30 Walmart toaster? It wasn’t even a four-slot toaster, just a two-slot one. No bells and whistles, whatsoever. The kid, however, was pretty cool.

He had to be about 11 at the time and when my father asked him who he wanted to live with he said, Grandpa. I hope he got to live with Grandpa!


14. Shoelaces And Bullets

My sister interned at a family court.

There was an instance where a child’s shoes were untied and the mom asked the dad to tie them. When he said he didn’t want to tie the laces she pulled a weapon on him.

In response, he pulled his weapon. So they were both pointing weapons at one other in front of their kid because they didn’t want to tie her shoes.


15. Money Is No Object

A couple spent $3,000 between me and another very good lawyer to argue about $13/month versus $30/month child support.

They had 50/50 custody. The kid was 13. Even after I did the math for my client explaining they were paying me more than the difference for the entire rest of child support, they still wanted to do it.


16. The Queen Of Contempt

Family law is depressing. Worst I’ve seen is still ongoing: The dad files emergency petitions every time a new court order is about to be signed because “he didn’t agree” to the terms his own lawyer set per his wishes.

Mom withholds the child from visitation (in contempt of court) if the dad’s new wife is present at the exchange. And it doesn’t stop there. 

Mom pulls into the parking lot and if she sees anyone but the dad, she peels out. Both have filed restraining orders against the other, which they later rescinded.

Their last court order was 18 ()! pages long (typically it’s two to three pages at most for custody orders) because it was nauseatingly specific about each aspect of their interactions.

God help me if I get dragged back into the middle of their case again.


17. Mommy-Not-So-Dearest

A father kept meticulous records of how much time his estranged wife spent with their daughter. He used a pink highlighter for mom and a blue highlighter for himself. Mom sailed into arbitration demanding full custody and handsome child support and the house.

Dad pulled out three years’ worth of year-long calendars.

Mom had spent less than a full month with the child in three years. Mom was not happy with the outcome.


18. Trickster

A mom and dad separated and both moved in with family. School wasn’t in session and there was no custody agreement yet, so the parents had been swapping the kids every week.

One day the mom emails the dad telling him that she had enrolled the kids in a school near her. The dad went straight to his attorney. 

The attorney filed a motion with the court to put a temporary custody order in place until the divorce was finalized, and the mom was sent proper notice of the hearing. On the day of the hearing, the mom never shows up so the judge had no choice but to grant custody of the kids to the dad, AKA the only parent who was present.

 But there was more to the story.

The reason she didn’t show up to court that day was because she thought that her husband’s attorney was trying to trick her. So she called the court to confirm the hearing date, but she claimed they told her a different, later date, that fell on a Sunday.

So she essentially tricked herself out of her custodial rights.

Oh, and the kicker? She never actually tried to enrol the kids in a school near her. 


19. Mine And Yours

Two parents were divorcing, and the dad told the mom, “You can have that one, but I’m taking this one”!

His two sons and I were within earshot. Who says something like that?


20. Just Deserts

The ex-husband didn’t want to pay what he owed his ex-wife. He thought he could make life difficult for her by dragging the process out with appeals.

He was not only hurting her but also his children. She desperately needed the money, and he knew that. He caused her to lose her job and she had to move back in with her parents.

Once the husband finally paid her what he owed, she not only moved out on her own, but bought a house…straight out paid cash for a full house. In the end he not only had to pay the full amount of what he owed, but child support, his judicial fees, and her judicial fees.


21. Cut From The Same Cloth

I’ve seen some extreme pettiness but the best story I have is actually from my guardian ad litem professor. When she was practicing, she had a client whose ex-wife was super duper extremely picky and particular about getting all of the children’s clothes back from her ex’s house when she got the kids back from him.


If one sock was left behind she would throw an absolute fit. This guy’s solution was ridiculous. He would to make the children strip down in the foyer and put on clothes specifically worn at his place when it was his turn to have them.

Then when they went back to mom’s, they had to strip again and change back into the clothes she sent them in.


22. Trouble Down Under

I’m involved in a matter at the moment where I’m acting for the father. Every time he does something the mother doesn’t like, she withholds the children.

She wanted to remove them from the school they had been in since kindergarten and move an hour away. Father didn’t agree. Now the father doesn’t get to see them for three months while we fight it.

Prior to that, the father hadn’t agreed to some other outrageous demand so she withheld the children for another three months. The father is currently suffering from a serious health issue, so whether or not he will pull through and how long he will have left with the children is another unfortunate part of the story.

The family courts, at least here in Australia, are very slow beasts that are underfunded and under-resourced. Getting anywhere when one parent is completely unreasonable is extremely difficult.


23. Life Lessons

Clients have paid me thousands of dollars to actively litigate for their ex to pay them $50 to $500.

“It’s a matter of principle”! Okay bud, whatever you say. People always think that they (via the family court) will teach their ex a life lesson that will fundamentally change that person’s character, for the better.

As much as I try to tell them, as many ways as I structure the message, I can never convince them that it won’t work. That jerk is still a jerk, lady, even after a contempt order.

He’s gonna do it again, because it’s in his nature to do so.


24. Moneyball

A really petty parent case I handled a while ago was one where a dad was buying a money order for child support every month.

But he actually had a devious plan. He wasn’t actually giving them to the mom. He gave us copies of all of the money orders he bought as evidence of the support he had been paying but she claimed that she had never received them.


Well, that just didn’t seem to make any sense. Eventually, we found out that he had actually withheld the money orders and then, like a dummy, he gave the original months-old money order to the mom to pay for the outstanding child support balance.

He was definitely found in contempt!! People can be really ridiculous.


25. Parents Behaving Badly

This happened to a colleague of mine, an attorney at the law office I work for. A husband and wife were fighting for custody of two children after bitter, ugly divorce.

The ex-wife created an account in the husband’s name on the Ashley Madison site to try and show his infidelity in a way that could be presented as evidence in court.

The wife and her new lover (the youth pastor at their church), claimed the husband had a relationship with a young girl at their church and the girl had told the youth pastor.

Well, then the husband convinced one of their kids to say the mom had been starving the kids. In retaliation for that, the pastor lit the husband’s car on fire.

And last but not least, the original cause for the divorce:

the husband had cheated on the wife, contracted a venereal disease, and passed it to his wife. The ex-wife got custody in the end and husband moved to Central America.


26. Courtroom Romance

My client was a guy straight out of two years behind bars so of course, his marriage was on the rocks.

When his wife dropped his kids off for a visit the son told him that his uncle had hit him. The father filed a PFA against the wife and uncle, which was granted. He then filed for sole custody, which was also granted.


​​The kids remained in his custody for about two months before the custody hearing could take place. Of course, my boss threw me the file and I had to handle the mediation and last-minute preparation.

During the mediation, the father and wife sit staring angrily at one another. Each had their arms crossed, staring and furious.

The other lawyer and I met in another room to discuss the facts and what each client wanted.

When we came out, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Our clients were gone. Magically, and during the brief 10 minutes that me and the other lawyer were gone, the father and mother made up, made-out (in the corner of the hallway) and left together.

The case was dropped. Did I mention this was a pro-bono case? 


27. A Sugary Scam

I was working for a dad who was seeking full custody of his child. The mother had full custody at the time.

The child had diabetes so both parents had to fill a daily glucose intake measured by a glucometer. But each time the dad dropped the child off at mom’s, he would buy a chocolate bar on the way there and feed it to the kid.

I presented the glucose measurements in court and due to the extremely high levels present when the child was at the mom’s place, we were able to win the father full custody of the child.

At the time, I didn’t know about chocolate bars. He just brought the paperwork and ordered me to present the glucose measurements.


28. Meet The Flintstones

For my first job as an attorney, I clerked for a state court of appeals.

An appellate court reviews all manner of lower court decisions, including Family Law. Every single case that was sent to our court came with a case file that included all the actions that the trial court took over the entire course of a trial, including a transcript of all court proceedings, and briefs provided by all of the concerned parties.


Most often, you could immediately identify what kind of case you were handling, simply by the size and thickness of that case file. This brings us to divorce cases. Appeals are not mandated in divorce cases, so my court only saw those divorce cases where the fighting between the ex-spouses couldn’t be resolved satisfactorily by the divorce court.


In other words, at least one ex wanted another opinion/chance at winning. These case files took up drawers. These case files were measured in feet, not inches. The largest files were those where children were involved.

  In other words, these people wouldn’t co-parent, and so had to run back to the trial court for nearly every single disagreement.

Things like where and how to school, feed, clothe, practice religion, conduct extracurricular activities, etc.

Repeatedly renegotiating child support. Repeatedly trying to change custody or visitation orders.  Trying to control how the other parent managed his or her time with the child.

And every single one of these court proceedings costs money; lots of money.

I handled one case where the father didn’t want the mother to give the child multivitamins. Hundreds of dollars in attorney fees over a Flintstone chewable. These fights were rarely about the kids; they were attempts to control the ex-spouse through the kids.

And what these litigants never realized is that, by refusing to co-parent, they essentially were giving over their parental role to the judge. In their efforts to control one another, they lost all power and control.


29. Time To Grow Up

Canadian family lawyer here. Generally, good family lawyers will call their client on their idiocy. We don’t want to be the lawyer standing in front of a judge over really petty things. Reputation is important.

That said, I’ve had people call my office yelling that my client wouldn’t allow them to pick up the infant child at 10 pm, because they were only four hours late for a visit.

This same ex once sad:

“My son is very mature for his age. I believe access to his mother should be per his discretion”. The child was a two-year-old.

30. Family Time

This wasn’t my case, but I was waiting in the courtroom and was privy to the divorce hearing. The parties were having trouble reaching a settlement agreement because they couldn’t agree on custody.

But it didn’t unfold in the usual way. Each of the self-absorbed adults couldn’t seem to fit the four-year-old kid into their “schedule”.

“I work Fridays, your Honor, so I can’t take him”.

“Yeah, Fridays aren’t good for me, either. In fact, I’m usually on-call all weekend”. “Me, too, but I have to miss Tuesdays in order to take him already, so she should have to take Fridays off”.

It broke my heart.


31. The Clothes Off Their Backs

In this case, the divorcing parents were both angry at each other for keeping “their” clothes for the kid. My client went to do a child exchange (at Dunkin Donuts, no less) and the mom made the child go to the bathroom and change into the dirty clothes my client had sent the child to her with, rather than allowing dad to take the clothes that she had on.

You can bet that we used that at our next evidentiary hearing.


32. Garbage Corn

I’m a former Family Law Assistant and my mom was a paralegal for a Family Law attorney. Their office had a sad case.

The mom had mental health issues and had supervised visitation. The dad had remarried and the new wife was pretty strange. She strictly regulated the food intake for her step-children. 

She went so far as to keep the food locked up. The ex-wife took him to court over custody because his neighbor called her to say one of the kids was eating raw corn out of a can.

The poor kid had to sneak a can of corn and eat it and then threw the can in the neighbor’s garbage to hide the evidence. That one really upset me.


33. Sliced And Diced

A favorite of mine is an incident where the lawyer was the badly divorced parent. We were breaking from a large docket, and when the judge stepped out of court, my colleague took off his jacket.

I nearly screamed when I saw it. His shirt was shredded at the back.

I asked him what the heck happened and he replied, “the ol’ lady kicked me out again. She shredded all my shirts and threw them on the front lawn”!


34. Not The Way She Wanted It

A wife filed for a restraining order because she wanted to get the house in the divorce. This was the worst mistake she could have made. The husband had a good job, earning $200k per year.

But when the employer found out about the restraining order, the husband was fired. He was in a specialized field so the only job he could find close to home and his daughter was for $50k.

Due to the dad’s lower income, the child support dropped to less than $500 per month. The wife had to get a job as a waitress, and their four cars were repossessed.


35. Dad Of The Year

During divorce mediation, the dad refused to let his middle son get the driving license he needed to drive himself and the youngest brother to school.

Instead, it was agreed that the third, already licensed, eldest brother would drive the younger boys to school during the weeks they were with the mom (every other week).

The oldest brother wasn’t thrilled about this because the school was 25 miles away from the mom’s house.

The dad then said that he would only agree to it if the oldest brother was also granted a medical marijuana card and that his son was not allowed to smoke any marijuana the day before or the day of driving his younger brothers.

The mom’s lawyer promptly had the request removed. The mom said having her eldest son’s name associated with marijuana in a formal document, medical or not, could have a negative impact on her son’s future. Real stand-up guy, that dad.


36. A Direct Line To The Devil

My client was a dad who had a nice management job with flexible hours and a high salary. One day he had his new girlfriend come to court to deliver a document that was needed.

The soon-to-be-ex-wife saw the new girlfriend and recognized her as part of the team at her husband’s workplace. She ended up getting a brutal revenge.

She called their ethics line. As a result of the call, her ex was demoted at work.

After the demotion, his salary was reduced so much that he could no longer pay spousal support and paid a much smaller amount for child support. He also lost the flexible schedule that had been good for daycare, and he was dumped by his new girlfriend.

Literally everyone lost.


37. A Gut Feeling

A couple couldn’t decide on who got the children, when or where or how. They would wait outside each other’s homes around the clock in their vehicles on ordered visitation/custody times and called law enforcement repeatedly to report a noise disturbance based on a “feeling” they had.

The children were ordered removed from both parties on the grounds of child neglect and were sent to boarding school.


38. Whoops

A husband and wife were going through a divorce that involved two kids, one of whom had special needs.

They began the process and were assigned a judge, who told them what to expect in terms of child support at the first hearing. The husband was a high-earning guy so the child support number was expected to be fairly high.

However, the state had passed a law that was expected to significantly reduce the amounts of child support payable in any future cases. Fortunately for the wife, the law was not scheduled to take effect for several months, so she would get the higher amount as long as the case was done before the new law went into effect.

 Then she messed it up for herself.

On the day of the next hearing, the parties arrived in court only to find out that the wife had fired her attorney. She had apparently met another attorney who convinced her that she needed someone who was skilled in dealing with children with special needs.

The new attorney immediately asked for an extension of the case.

The new attorney raised a bunch of new issues (none of which were particularly helpful to the wife) and, by the time all of these issues had been resolved, the new law had come into effect.

Under the new law the wife ended up only getting about 30% of the child support she would have gotten under the old law. Whoops.


39. How Many Kids?

I once had a pre-trial with a judge during a family law proceeding.

The wife was hiding the income she earned from a home day care business as a way of claiming she needed more money from her former husband. I was acting for the father. During the pre-trial, the judge asked why I believed she was operating a home day care.

I told the judge I had a private investigator follow the defendant and I had obtained pictures of her walking to a park with approximately seven children. The wife stood up and screamed at me for invading her privacy, called me a voyeur, and then screamed “anyway it couldn’t have been me, I only have three kids I look after”.


40. 30 Seconds Or Less

I’m just an intern, but once I was going through discovery that our client provided, as he was trying to win custody over his son. One of these pieces of discovery was a “detailed account of the mother’s timelines”.

If the mother was late for pick-up, they would document it. Which would make sense if it was significant.

Over a six-month period, she was late a total of 33 minutes. They met to exchange the child three times per week and she was only late by one or two minutes once a week.

It was the most insignificant piece of data that I have ever seen, but the client insisted we use it in court to prove that the mother was irresponsible.


41. What’s In A Name

I was in court for one of the first times after passing the bar exam, and I was handling a routine child support case.

The events that transpired did not involve my client. When one party is unrepresented in Family Court there is a pre-trial meeting with the Probation Officers so they can assist the judge in framing the case.

Probation Officers are trained Social Workers who act as mediators in these instances. So these two parties are meeting and you can see the guy is just growing more angry over everything but they’re making progress working out the details of divorce settlement.

Then all of sudden it explodes. He stands up and throws his chair over. 

He started to yell at his ex. Hollering about how she took his house, took his kids, and even took his dog.

Then he went on to say that he would “kill her” if she thought she was going to keep his name too. Within seconds he was restrained by the court guards and escorted to a private room.


He ended up being detained for threatening his ex-wife. All because she wanted to keep his last name instead of going back to her maiden name to make it easier on the kids. For those wondering, the judge ended up moving forward that day with their case, awarding the wife with everything she wanted.


42. Oopsie Daisie

My girlfriend is going through school to be a law assistant in Canada. One of her class requirements was to sit in on court hearings. I went along with her, as anyone from the public can attend.

The first few cases were all about debts, etc. The last was a hearing, however for something to do with child support.

The mother was looking for $3,000 a month instead of the $1,200 a month the father was currently paying.

The father didn’t look like he had a lot of money. You could tell he worked with his hands and he didn’t have the newest of suits. Nice guy it seemed. 

The mother was dressed in fancy clothes, a big designer brand bag, designer sunglasses on her head, a good watch, bracelets, etc. The mother said she needed the extra money every month to support her as she didn’t “trust” child daycare or babysitters. So she pretty much wanted the father to pay for her to stay at home.

The judge commented on the mother’s fancy accessories and said she was denying her request for more money as it was unreasonable. She went on to say that it looked like the mother wasn’t using the current child support as intended (she was also referring to all the financial documents, not just her clothing and accessories).

The mother quickly interjected with “Oh no! This is all fake!

! Me and my friends all made these to save money and to try to sell them to make ends meet”. In the end she admitted to making and selling fake goods in front of a full court room and didn’t even realize the gravity of what she had done.


43. Just Plain Sad

When I was in law school I worked on a case involving the parents who had lost a child.

They had been divorced before losing their child but were still fighting over child support a few years later. They were fighting over who got to keep the victim’s compensation fund proceeds for the loss of their six-year-old.

They were rich, so it wasn’t about the money, it was about getting a win over their former spouse.  They were using the loss of their baby to score points against the other parent, and the rest of their kids were stuck in the middle.

Very petty but much more depressing than anything else. Worst case I’ve ever worked on.


44. Petty With A Capital P

The interim court order said that my client, the mom, was not to discuss the court proceedings with the child.

During an access visit the child asked her “When will I get to see you again”? and my client responded, “We’ll have to see, but hopefully soon”. The father then argued that this was “discussing the court proceedings with the child” and tried using it as an excuse to deny any further access.


45. TopCuts

My dad is a family court judge. One family, going through a custody battle, was so salty the ex-wife gave their son a bad haircut so that he would look bad in her ex-husband’s new wedding photos.


46. Something’s Fishy

I’ve seen clients spend $10,000 fighting over a $100 fish tank. It’s often not about what you end up with, it’s about what they don’t end up with…


47. Double Trouble

I had a consultation scheduled with a woman regarding divorce and custody.

When she came in for the appointment there was another woman with her. I assumed it was a family member or friend who came for moral support. As it turned out, the other woman was not a friend nor a relative.

She was there to discuss a separate case.

Woman one was the wife, woman two was the mistress. Both had children from the same man at approximately the same time. But here’s the best part.

The wife found out and after a period of being furious at the mistress, they both decided the guy was garbage and teamed up against him. 

This particular gentleman had quite a few very bad days ahead of him considering the litany of divorce, custody, and support hearings. Moral of the story, don’t mess around it you don’t want to be tag teamed later.


48. Divorcing For Dollars

There is one case of pettiness I will always remember.

I had a client who negotiated to keep the marital home, but had to make a 40k payment to her spouse as part of the agreed upon settlement. I scheduled a meeting in my office, to be joined by my client, the adversary (ex spouse), and the opposing counsel.


I confirmed with her repeatedly that she was coming to the meeting, and confirmed with her repeatedly that she was bringing a bank or cashier’s check for the amount, as specifically directed in the property settlement agreement. The day comes and my client is running late.

We’re all sitting around my conference table passing the time. This is where it got extremely weird. A bunch of guys knock on the door to the conference room. They looked like they were movers, from the way they were dressed.

They proceed to walk in, carrying duffel bags which they set on the conference table.

There were lots and lots and lots of duffel bags. The reason for all of the bags? My client had taken the $40k out in single dollar bills.

Opposing counsel was understandably livid and I informed my client that I would no longer be representing her. She had taken pettiness to a whole new level.


49. Hold This For Me

A divorcing couple could not agree on the color of the sky and had one baby together.

They had to exchange the child at the local law enforcement station for visitations. During one exchange in the station lobby, the mom handed the baby over and waited until the dad had the child in both hands.

 Her next actions made me gasp.

Now that he couldn’t defend himself, she proceeded to beat him in the face with her fists. However, ​​she didn’t realize the lobby was under surveillance and the whole thing was recorded. She was detained on the spot but the dad hesitated to press charges.

One of the officers said, “Dude, you will never have as good a chance to get her to stop this behavior than now. You have a video. You have two sworn officers who saw it firsthand”.

In the end, he pressed charges. She pled guilty to domestic battery. She went for anger management counseling and had to pay some other fines and do some community service. In the end, this had a fairly happy ending.

They never had a problem again over the child and got along fine afterward.


50. Garbage Dad

My client was ordered to box up some of his wife and child’s things and hand them over to her.

He said all had gone well and he had done as the judge directed. I later learned the horrific truth. Turns out, my client had boxed up and delivered garbage to his ex. When I asked him why, he said “My wife only owned garbage.

That’s what she left behind”.

He once threatened to call CPS and say that his ex was mistreating their daughter. There was a court order of protection against him so I told him his daughter could end up in state care.

His response? “Let her go into foster care”. The same guy also used to whisper “I hope you die” every time his wife walked by us in court.


Sources: 1, 2

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