Divorce Lawyers Share The Most Surprising Plot Twists And Outrageous Antics During Divorce Negotiations.
Divorce can be a messy process not only is it emotional, but there are many parties involved. Between the court system and the termination of a relationship, there's a lot of room for people to do ridiculous things.
These divorce lawyers share the weirdest and most surprising cases they've ever had.
1/23. Took the couple two hours to decide who would get the groceries left in the fridge. Estimated value of the groceries was around $40. Two hours of my time, opposing counsel time, and mediator time added up to about $1,000. It all came down to a Costco/Sam's Club sized jar of peanut butter.
2/23. We had a couple that were both lieutenant colonels in the Air Force. They had one daughter that was about 11 or 12. Both had graduate degrees and were generally intelligent people. Well the husband had an affair and things went sour with the relationship. The daughter was at that age when her relationship with the mother was starting to get a little strained and she mentioned how she wanted to stick with her dad because he was about to be stationed elsewhere and the parents would be going their separate ways.
The mother absolutely freaked. The first thing she did was go to the local police department and claim the father had been hurting the daughter. They investigated and couldn't find any evidence so they dropped the case. The mother still furious then goes to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and reports the same thing. The Air Force then suspends the husband from duty and conducts their own investigation, same result no evidence of wrong doing and the case is dropped. The mother then goes to the next state over where the husband is about to be transferred and contacts the local police there with the same story. They of course do their own investigation but same result, case is dropped
Of course this whole time the daughter has been interviewed a dozen times by psychologists, various therapists, the police, the Air Force, and who knows else. The daughter is straight up traumatized by this. 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.
Well once word of all this gets back to the judge he is furious. He's a former Air Force Jag and still has contacts in the ranks. Well anyway the couple comes in front of him one day for a hearing and he outright tells her she better stop this behavior or he's going to hold her in contempt of court for the maximum amount of time he can lawfully hold her in a cell, contact the DA and recommend the filing of charges, contact her Air Force superiors and recommend reprimand to the fullest extent possible, and basically anything and everything he can do within his power.
It was one of the most messed up things I've seen during my relatively short experience in the legal world.
3/23. I was in a mediation where it took the couple an hour and a half to split their personal property, retirement accounts, real property, and custody of their 6 month old son. The rest of the day, about 4 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 calendared schedule working out holidays and strict pickup/drop off times.
I was ashamed to be a part of that unbelievable display.
4/23. My dad was a divorce attorney for some time. He said people would argue over $150 patio furniture for hours on end at a $300/hr rate (each side).
It's not about the patio furniture, it's about sending a message to your ex-husband/wife.
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5/23. Our case fell apart over a massage chair.
They had two kids.
Couldn't let go of the damn chair.
6/23. Hate to be the "not a lawyer but..." however, this is still in line for what kind of story you're looking for I think.
Basically, rich couple had a really bad falling out. The husband decided that he so hated his ex-wife that he hid all of their money and, last I heard, is still in jail for contempt of court for refusing to give up the location. So yeah, a few years now.
Must be a special kind of hate to risk an indefinite sentence (since you can be in jail basically as long as you're held in contempt which he kept doing each court appearance) just to deny your ex money.
7/23. I had a case where the estranged wife was calling my client's employer repeatedly, accusing him of theft and other white-collar crimes, to try getting my client fired.
The thing is, the children were with her, and she was also demanding child support. Which is based on his income. For the job from which she was trying to get him fired.
(Fortunately, the employer was onto her BS and my client wasn't let go.)
8/23. My friend's ex-husband tried to force their daughter to have to choose which parent she would live with every year on her birthday. The daughter wanted to live with Mom. Dad is 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.
9/23. My uncle has been a lifelong Videographer and still works to this day as a news photographer. During the early to late 90's he stopped shooting news and started shooting freelance. This was before everyone and their mom (and their moms) had a camera/editing software/whatnot. Eventually he became a sought after photographer.
In the 80's when he was working as a news photographer he met and married a reporter/news anchor of which he would go on to have 2 children with. After leaving the news business to freelance he decided to start a video editing business with his wife. That went extremely well for a while and they were making money hand over fist. He would be asked to shoot for channels such as Food Network and HGTV, DIY, etc and then edit it into the show. She would work as the middle (woman) for his clients and as bookkeeper.
Eventually, she would turn out to be secretly an adulterer and their marriage ended in divorce (story continued onto the next page...).
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At this point my uncle was making a couple 100k a year with their business. She decided to sue him for alimony (mostly because he was worth a good chunk of change) but also because she helped him build his business. Her demands were ridiculous, something like 75% of the business for the next so many years or something like that. My uncles 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 uncles 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 hell of a lot less than she asking for by asking for X amount of profits.
The judge reasoned that his offer was fair and that she could take it or leave it....she was pissed, her lawyer was pissed and she ended up getting nothing.
10/23. 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.
11/23. I once had a case where I was representing a father who wanted more access to his children. The mothers new boyfriend was being investigated for murder. He turned up to the court hearing wearing a T-Shirt with a massive picture of a gun, the handle of which was a mobile phone. On it in a massive, easy to read, font were the words 1800 DIAL A HIT.
12/23. We had a guy who cheated on his wife transfer all of his money (slowly over time) to his girlfriend before the wife found out about their affair and file for bankruptcy to avoid having to give his now ex-wife anything in the divorce.
13/23. There's this rich couple that are suing a company for something or other. A guy on the jury is hanging out with a friend one afternoon, and his buddy starts telling him about this cougar he's sleeping with (story continued on the next page...).
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Supposedly she's really controlling, but she spends a lot of her husband's money on him, so he puts up with it. Part way throughout the convo, he drops her first name, and the jury dude goes, "wait! Is her name ____ ____?" friend replies, "yeah, do you know her?" Turns out it's the rich lady from the case he is on. The next day he had to recuse himself from the case, because he couldn't look at her the same way. The couple's lawyer demanded an explanation as to why he was dropping out in the middle of everything, so he had to tell the judge, the lawyer, the lady.....and her husband. Awkward.
Anyways, that case was put on hold for a long time, because they had a divorce to get to.
14/23. Not a divorce lawyer but my sister just went through a nasty divorce. It sounds like a movie you would see on LIFETIME. They split up after 28 years of marriage because he fell in love with an exotic dancer half his age. He emptied their savings and borrowed against their 401k so she could start her own bar, which was bankrupt after 6 months.
15/23. My client (male) had just received a substantial inheritance from his uncle. This was after my client had stopped living or communicating with his former spouse.
During negotiations she wanted a cut of the recently acquired inheritance.
16/23. My ex-wife kicked me during our initial sit down with our divorce lawyers. Stood up and delivered a full-on front kick to the thigh. She's a bad kicker, luckily. In retrospect, it may have been because I called her soulless just before that.
17/23. My ex and I had broken up and she decided to get an apartment 30 minutes away from where our apartment was. It's probably for the best so we'd never run into each other in public.
My ex is a 1st grade teacher and found a school to work for on that side of town. My daughter went to school there too, just to make it easier on her mother. I'd drive there and pick up my daughter from school every single day during the week because I work at 5am and got off at 1:30pm. I became good friends with all of the stay at home moms and would talk with them everyday after school while our kids ran off their energy on the playground. On my days off, I'd drop her off and just hang out on that side of town and get to try new restaurants, find new comic book shops, etc.
On one particular day, I decided to try tacos for lunch. Now, what they don't tell you about these tacos is that you need to be within 30 minutes of a toilet after you eat it. I was on my way to get my daughter and I felt kinda sick.
It was at this moment that I knew I had made a terrible mistake (story continued on the next page...).
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I pooped my pants 30 minutes from home, 10 minutes before I had to pick my daughter up from school. I had a simple decision to make: Go up there and get her anyway or make something up and come back later. I checked myself out and thankfully it didn't show through my jeans so I waited in my car until I heard the bell ring.
I went up there quickly and took my daughter aside: "Sweetheart, this is really embarrassing. Daddy had an accident. You can't play with your friends today. We need to go." Like a trooper, she understands and we leave.
Now, I told you that story to tell you this story. I left out one major detail above. The routine was: I'd pick my kid up, she'd play with her friends, her mother would come out to the playground and see her for a little while and then leave. On this particular day, I broke the routine. On the ride home, my phone is going off like crazy. My phone was on silent and needless to say, I wouldn't have answered it anyway. I get home and I have 20 missed calls all with voicemails.
Fast forward to our custody hearing. I've got 2 lawyers, she doesn't have 1. Without getting into too many details, it generally isn't going very well for her. She's desperate, really really desperate to make me look like an unfit parent. Representing herself while I'm on the stand, asks about what happened on that particular day. The day I kept her daughter away from her.
I looked at my lawyers who I also had to tell this story because I saw this coming. They smiled and gave me that, "Well, go on." Look. I had to tell the story about how I pooped my pants after eating tacos to a judge, a bailiff and a court stenographer.
Mid-way through this story, the judge goes from looking at me with this piercing glare to covering her mouth trying soooo hard not to burst out into laughter. Seeing how well received my story was, my ex had no further questions. The judge ended my getting off the stand with "Well!... Now that that's on public record." I froze. "THAT'S ON PUBLIC RECORD?!? Oh man."
And that ladies and gentleman is why I tell this story now. If you were to look up my court case, there is an official version of this story somewhere on public record.
18/23. My now ex-stepmother was getting an 80/20 settlement and refused to agree until the agreement was revised include a bag of old beer can koozies and a dry-rotted pool float. She was crazy which is why dad was paying her to go away.
19/23. 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.
20/23. My ex-husband and I got divorced after four years. We had no kids, we were still dirt poor, so we went to a divorce center, paid a couple 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.
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21/23. I was a clerk for a law firm in Marin County. The husband grew weed in the house. The town was supportive and even let him redo his electrical panel to accommodate his crop. Long story short, in the divorce, she demanded half of the weed proceeds. Today it doesn't seem like a big deal, but 12 years ago I was shocked to see that in a court document
22/23. The husband had a stroke and the wife took his inheritance and split it among herself and her children from a previous marriage and then took the power of attorney to deed his house to one of her daughters. The husband recovered from his stroke to find himself penniless with no where to live. That's why we have courts so straighten these things out.
23/23. My dad is a lawyer and his friend has been married three times so my dad has been his divorce lawyer twice and his best man three times.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.