Divorce Lawyers Share The Craziest Stunts They’ve Seen Over The Years
Love can really sting. Just ask some divorce lawyers about the way couples treat each other when they are trying to finalize a divorce. People get greedy just to spite their significant other. They slander their ex and make up all sorts of atrocious lies just to get some property or obtain custody of the children.
And then there is the pettiness; the arguing for hours and spending hundreds upon thousands of dollars over meaningless things. Jealousy, anger, and sadness will make a person do unspeakable things in divorce cases, as it turns out. While there are divorces that end amicably, most of them cause people to reveal their worst, most ruthless selves. If these stories from internet users around the world don’t make you want to get a prenup, I don’t know what would.
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#1 Man And Woman’s Best Friend
I conducted a mediation where it took the couple an hour to split their personal property, retirement accounts, and custody of their six-month-old son. The rest of the day, about four hours, was spent arguing about how to split the time with the dog. For the kid, they just put, “as agreed upon by the parties,” but the dog had a strict calendered schedule with strict holidays and pick-up/drop-off times. I was ashamed to be a part of that unbelievable display.
#2 The Most Important Thing Is The Peanut Butter
It took the couple two hours to decide who would get the groceries left in the fridge. The estimated value of the groceries was around $40. The two hours of my time, the opposing counsel time, and the mediator time all added up to about $1,000. It all came down to a Costco/Sam’s Club sized jar of peanut butter (who keeps peanut butter in the fridge?)
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#3 Massage Chairs Ruin Marriages
The case fell apart over a massage chair. They had two kids, but apparently, the chair was more important. They just couldn’t let go of the darn chair. The worst part is, they had pretty much agreed on everything else—the property, the custody—it was literally just that one stupid massage chair that held them back.
#4 She Knows Not What She Does
I had a case where the estranged wife was calling my client’s employer repeatedly, accusing him of theft and other white-collar crimes, in an attempt to get my client fired. The thing is, the children were with her, and she was also demanding child support, which was based on his income. Fortunately, the employer was onto her and my client wasn’t let go.
#5 No Religion
When my parents got divorced, my dad had written in the divorce decree that my mother could not make any religious decisions for me, including regular church attendance, baptisms, etc. My mother was raised Mormon and my father was pretty adamant that I would not be raised in that religion too. I’m grateful my dad fought for my right to be my own person.
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#6 A Cruel Request
My friend’s ex-husband tried to force their daughter to choose which parent she would live with every year on her birthday. The daughter wanted to live with her mom because the dad was always out of town for work anyway. The judge told him that in no way was he going to force this girl to disappoint one of her parents every year on her birthday.
#7 The True Meaning Of Christmas
I had a couple arguing for three hours over who got the kids on Christmas day, only to discover at the end that they were both Jewish. I mean, I guess it still somewhat mattered because it’s a holiday in most places, but come on—for the kids’ sake, they should have just put their pettiness aside and worked towards a compromise like adults.
#8 The Horrible Lengths To Which Some People Will Go
I clerked for a judge that handled divorce cases. We had a couple that was in the Air Force. They had one daughter that was 12 years old. Both had graduate degrees and were generally intelligent people. Well, the husband had an affair and things went sour with the relationship. The daughter was at that age when her relationship with the mother was starting to get a little strained and she mentioned how she wanted to stick with her dad because he was about to be stationed elsewhere.
The mother absolutely freaked. The first thing she did was go to the local police department and claim the father had been abusing her daughter. They investigated him and couldn’t find any evidence, so they dropped the case. The mother, still furious, then went to the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations to report the same thing.
The Air Force ended up suspending the husband from duty and conducted their own investigation, only to reach the same result. They found no evidence of wrongdoing and the case was dropped. But the mother still wasn’t finished—she then went to the next state over where the husband was about to be transferred and contacted the local police there with the same story.
They, of course, did their own investigation, but the same conclusion was reached and the case was dropped. Of course, that whole time, the daughter was interviewed a dozen times by psychologists, various therapists, the police, the Air Force, and who knows else. The daughter was straight up traumatized, especially after people had constantly asked her if her dad had been abusing her in great detail.
Not to mention the harm it did to her father’s career. He was basically screwed from any possible promotion just because of the allegations. As well as the fact that infidelity in the military is a big no-no. But that was his own doing. Once word of all this got back to the judge, he was furious. He was a former Air Force Jag and still had contacts in the ranks.
Anyway, the couple came in front of him one day for a hearing and he outright told that her she better stop her behavior or he would hold her in contempt of court for the maximum amount of time he could lawfully hold her in a cell. He also threatened to contact the DA and recommend the filing of charges, contact her Air Force superiors and recommend reprimand to the fullest extent possible, and basically do anything and everything he could within his power to get justice for the husband. It was one of the most messed up things I’d ever seen during my relatively short experience in the legal world.
#9 All For The Money
#10 You Can’t Sell Someone What Already Belongs To Them
#11 Chalk It Up To Sentimental Value?
#12 A Special Kind Of Hate
#13 He’s As Ungrateful As They Come
The husband and wife get divorced. Initially, the wife went into the marriage with her own house and three cars, while he went in with nothing. She mortgaged the house in her name (as the bank wouldn’t give her anything if his name was on it too) to let her husband start a trucking business. He ended up becoming successful.
They filed for divorce, and she told him she just wanted enough money from him to square her mortgage; he could have the business and everything else. He instead sold EVERYTHING to his friend for next-to-nothing so that he had nothing on his name and didn’t have to pay her squat. She’s now going to lose the house.
#14 Vegetarians Mean Business For A Reason
#15 Taking It Out On The Daughter
#16 Moving To Trial Over A Dog
The couple worked as upper-middle-class engineers, so nobody was going to go hungry at the end of it. Of course, we presumed it’d be a quick, painless negotiation. Nobody told us the husband was a raging addict with no social skills. Nobody told us that the wife was very attached to the dog.
We divided up the house, all possessions, the bank accounts, everything in under a week, except for possession of the dog.She was convinced he’d put the dog down. He kept saying it was man’s best friend, not woman’s. This case got slated for trial over who got the dog. I mean, that’s downright extraordinary.
A divorce case going to trial is weird. That it goes to trial with no kids is weirder. That it goes to trial where both parties are financially stable and well-off is, like, a comet-hitting-you unlikely. That it goes to trial solely over the possession of a dog is, so far as I can tell from talking to other attorneys, unheard of.
#17 Set The Bed On Fire
#18 Country Clubbers Sure Can Be Weird
#24 Imagine How That Daughter Must Have Felt
The married couple fought over their kids, ONLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT their son was on the road to becoming a professional football player. They both admitted it to my face and eventually the kid emancipated himself since he couldn’t take the drama anymore. They both spent about $180,000 in all kinds of legal fees and bribes to their son, while TOTALLY ignoring their daughter. In the end, they divorced poor with an angry daughter who moved to her brother’s place.
#25 The Big Spoon Problem
When I was in school, one of my law professors told us why he’ll never work in family law. He called it “The Big Spoon Problem.” His coworker was acting as a divorce lawyer for a couple, but the reality was, he was the husband’s attorney, so he asked my professor to stand in as an attorney for the wife, to protect her interests.
Everything had been worked out, and the settlement was ready to go when the wife suddenly asked, “Wait… What about the big wooden fork and spoon?” See, the couple had one of those big fork-and-spoon sets in their kitchen, and they hadn’t included who got it in the settlement agreement. They exploded at each other, each arguing heatedly why they should get the pair, and both agreeing that they couldn’t be split up.Eventually, they got physical and my professors stepped in between, getting punched in the face by the woman.
The settlement agreements broke down afterward, and it had to go to court. Obviously, the problems were more serious than who got the big wooden fork and spoon, but it’s amazing how a catalyst like that can set some people off.
#26 Talk About Well-Played
My uncle has been a lifelong videographer and still works as a news photographer. During the early to late ’90s, he stopped shooting news and started doing freelance work. This was before everyone had a camera and editing software. Eventually, he became a sought-after photographer. In the ’80s, when he was working as a news photographer, he met and married a news anchor and they had two children.
After leaving the news business to freelance, he decided to start a video editing business with his wife. That went extremely well for a while and they were making money hand over fist. He would be asked to shoot for channels such as Food Network, HGTV, DIY, etc. and then edit it into the show. She would work as the middle man for his clients and as a bookkeeper. Eventually, she would turn out to be a secret substance abuser and adulterer and their marriage would end in divorce. At this point, my uncle was making a couple of hundred grand a year with their business. She decided to sue him for alimony (mostly because he was worth a good chunk of change) but also because she helped him build his business.
Her demands were ridiculous; something like 75% of the business for the next so many years. My uncle’s lawyer was afraid she was going to win because she had played such a big role in building the biz. Fast forward to court day, her lawyer stands in front of the judge and lists off what she wants in the divorce. Once he is finished, it’s my uncle’s turn.
He blindsides her and offers to give her 100% of the business. The judge and both lawyers are confused and ask him if he is sure. Without him shooting and editing, there is no business. So basically, she would be left with a lot less than she was asking for. The judge reasoned that his offer was fair and that she could take it or leave it. She ended up getting nothing.
#27 The List Fiasco
To split their personal property, the couple sat down and made two lists, with the wife keeping the items on list A, and the husband keeping the items on list B. At what was supposed to be the final mediation meeting (with attorneys on both sides), the wife decided that the lists weren’t fair and that the husband was getting “all the good things.” The husband agreed to trade lists so that she could have “the good things” list, but she decided that wasn’t fair either. Much money was spent having the attorneys reshuffle the lists until the wife was satisfied.
#28 Petty As They Come
#29 That Is Clearly Not Attempted Murder
I was a legal assistant a few years back and we had a divorce for a couple from Hong Kong. The wife was irrational, demanding, and was nothing but (understandably) contemptuous toward her husband, who had been cheating on her long term. We had to send our process server to his mistress’ house at least three times.
The time it had gotten truly ridiculous was around Thanksgiving. The guy was quite a cook and liked to entertain. While the couple was not speaking to each other, they were still cohabitating. He had been boiling up a tin of condensed milk; a traditional, if not, dangerous way to make dulce de leche, and had forgotten about it and went to work.
He had called the home landline, her cell, and her work phone to tell her to turn off the burner but she ignored it. She had got home and saw the mess it had made on the ceiling and called us to ask if we could sue him for attempted murder. They were both just horrible people who shouldn’t have been married to each other, let alone anyone else.
#30 The Case Of The Magic Pots And Pans
There was a divorcing couple in a ‘Community Property’ state (everything acquired during the marriage is divided equitably, including all assets accumulated by either party), and they had agreeably divided their property, without much hassle or fuss. However, there was one ‘sticking point’ that neither the husband or wife could agree on: Who got the set of cooking pots and pans.
The attorneys for both parties even offered to buy a new set of pots and pans for whoever relinquished ownership of the cookware, but neither husband nor wife would hear of it. The disagreement got so heated and went so far that it finally fell to arbitration by the court and judge to determine which party got the set of pots and pans.
Both divorce attorneys apologized profusely to the judge over this ‘sticking point’, and the judge was not too pleased with his time being wasted making a judgment over a set of cookware. So the judge ruled that one party would get the pots and pans, and the other party would get the lids to the pots and pans. Since it was an arbitration, both parties had to take the judgment.
#31 A Friendly Divorce Is A Truly Strange Thing
My ex-husband and I got divorced after four years. We had no kids and we were still dirt poor, so we went to a divorce center. We paid a couple of hundred bucks and did it ourselves. We are still friendly three years later. People we know genuinely think our “friendly divorce” is one of the weirdest divorces they have ever seen.
#32 The Awful Things People Do To Avoid Paying Child Support
#34 Proof That Divorce Can Really Make People Cruel
#35 So Much For That Nest Egg
I know a couple who are recently divorced. They were together for 20 years with no kids. They worked their way up to become quite wealthy. However, she was the clear breadwinner and in a senior position in an excellent job. He also had a good job, but could never make nearly what she earned or close to what her earning potential was.
She spent about two years prior to leaving telling him she wanted out but found it hard to make the move. He would always find some reason to get her to stay. She met someone and literally walked out the door one day. I don’t think he believed she would ever actually do it, so he was extremely angry, especially learning that she walked out the door into the arms of another man.
Her first offer on the table was 50/50 split. He would have come out way ahead on this deal—the house they shared had appreciated by several hundred thousand pounds, along with the flat they rented out. But his anger got in the way and he spent the next three years insisting on more. At one point, he had some cockeyed views that he was entitled to 75%.
Even worse, some terrible things about their marriage would never have been forced to come out had he just signed straight away, mostly regarding his physical and emotional abuse. I was surprised at the physical, but in fairness, not about the emotional, since he was a pretty controlling man. I was glad she stood her ground, although the divorce went on for three years in the end.
At about the 18-month mark, I know he had spent £20,000 in lawyers so I imagine she was about the same. Who knows what the final bills were for both. At some point, he was to hand over some of the furnishings and when she arrived to collect them, they had been cut up and urinated on, amongst other damages. Yikes.
This guy was seriously shooting himself in the foot with these antics. I was also pleased to hear that because he was being so difficult, she decided to go for the calculated financial contributions which meant when the divorce was finalized, she ended up with the lion’s share, equitable to what they both put in based on earnings. He is a jerk so he deserved what he got.
#36 She Wasn’t Sneaky Enough
This was my experience during my divorce. We had filed for divorce in Utah which is a communal property state. So the debts incurred, even though they were for her and her school, were also my responsibility. My attorney and I were fighting to get all the debts placed on her. During the proceeds, we discovered she had signed into a ranching business with one of her friends.
She owned a few hundred cattle, some horses and an ATV that I knew nothing about. My attorney gambled and demanded that I be signed in to that, as well as whatever property she came into during the marriage. She freaked when it was brought up because she thought she had been sneaky by doing this in another state. The judge ruled in my favor but gave her the choice of either splitting the property or taking the debts. She took the debts.
#37 Fighting Over Chili Pepper Christmas Lights
I worked at a family law firm as a tech guy for about five years. I saw a couple spend at least $30,000 in legal fees over a set of chairs and chili pepper Christmas lights. We’re talking multiple mediation sessions where these items were the dealbreaker.
#38 The Cutest Argument Of All Time
#39 What Could She Have Possibly Done To Deserve That?
#40 But Spongebob Is Not Violent
#41 A Bonafide Bad Mom
#42 Of All The Ways To Protect Your Money…
#43 Millionaires Can Be Trash People Too
I worked on a divorce and custody modification where the ex-wife threw a pan into the new girlfriends face. Then she tried to kidnap the kid. She is now serving time. And these people had millions of dollars. Good old Texas!
#44 Those Poor Children
#45 She Got A Bit Carried Away
Not a lawyer, yet, but I did observe a divorce trial where the wife was representing herself and was cross-examining her husband on the stand. She essentially was accusing him of being the Gilgo Beach serial criminal. It was an obvious reason why most people should not represent themselves. It’s just not a good idea.