Unbelievably Petty Divorces
Someone can seem completely normal—but then in a break-up, the gloves come off. Former spouses go from loving and sweet to petty and mean in the blink of an eye. These Redditors—many of them lawyers—came together to share their stories of the most unbelievably petty divorces they’ve ever seen, and they’re real doozies.
1. 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.
2. 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 pettiest 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.
3. Proceed With Prayer
My philosophy professor’s wife divorced him—and the reason why was deeply disturbing. He attempted to perform an exorcism on her. The Christian school didn’t take too well to that and terminated him. Except the exorcism wasn’t the last straw. The wife was actually having a year-long affair with a professor at a rival school across the street. But the exorcism probably didn’t help.
4. 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.
5. Present And Accounted For
My ex stood before the judge during my painful divorce and pointed out a charge on my credit card bill for a strip joint. I got the judge’s attention while she was talking—and I knew exactly how to get back at her. We were representing ourselves, so I told him that she was already aware of what the charge was. She was there and even got a lap dance that night.
There were quite a few chuckles from the peanut gallery, and the judge had this quiet hidden little grin that vanished quickly. It felt awesome to say because I’d been screwed over so much from the divorce. It was bad.
6. Stuck In The Moment With You
This couple was breaking up, and the husband moved out of the house. The wife went to work the next morning as usual. When she came back home in the evening, she found the husband had been to the house and to take his clothing and belongings as she had expected. But he also did something else that she’d never expected—he’d gotten the pettiest revenge ever.
He’d super-glued her belongings together. He glued the TV remote to the table, the phone to its cradle, the pillows to the couch, and even glued the vacuum cleaner to the carpet. She had to report it all as property damage. The officer went with her through the house documenting dozens of items glued to various things.
But for days, she was discovering more things stuck together. So, she then called me to amend or update her report with complaints like, “The oven mitts were glued to the wall!” or “He glued the sheets together in the linen closet!” I’ve seen people do and say really awful things to each other, but that was diabolical.
7. Home Sweet Home
This man wanted a divorce from his wife, and he had many good reasons—but what he cited as his “last straw” was absolutely ridiculous. It was all because his wife ate those pumpkin-shaped candy corn candies. All day while he was at work, he had been looking forward to them. But when he came home, he found out that she had eaten all of them. He just snapped. It was over.
8. Spread It Out
I represented one guy who was on his second marriage. He had lost his first wife to cancer. He and his kids were devastated. My client was a sensitive guy with a big heart. His second wife was charming, which was why he fell for her, but it was all a facade. Then my client met a very affectionate woman during his case.
They really hit it off and were basically engaged even though his divorce was far from over. The fiancée started having health issues and was diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer. Then the ex-wife tried to use the diagnosis against my client in court—and what she said was seriously ridiculous. Her crazy theory was that he had caused his first wife’s cancer.
She accused him of doing the same thing to his new girlfriend. The second wife’s attorney refused to be a part of her theory. The attorney never addressed her argument in court and didn’t even mention it during testimony. Rather, he informed the judge that his client wished to address the court directly about an issue.
The judge allowed it, and the second wife shared her wild theory adding that she was certain my client had tried to give her cancer as well. I wish I had an artist’s rendering of the scene capturing the second wife’s crazy eyes, her attorney’s shame and embarrassment, the judge’s confusion, and my awe-inspired disgust.
9. 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!
10. Big Deal
We once worked really hard on a woman’s case because her husband had gotten on a bus to Mexico with her kids. We expedited everything. I went above and beyond for the woman—contacting attorneys in south Mexico and writing out very clear instructions to get back her kids. But later, I found out the disturbing truth behind her story.
Our client had attacked her husband with a knife because he confronted her about sleeping with his brother. That was why the husband packed up and took the kids.
11. 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.
12. At A Crossroads
My dad had a client who was a trucker and wanted to divorce his wife. The guy was in his late 40s and weighed 300 pounds. The man said that he and his wife were in an open marriage, but she refused to have another partner even though this man has multiple partners. He also casually mentioned to my dad that he was bi too.
But he’d wanted to make it very clear that he preferred women but slept with men regularly. He didn’t give a reason though. And when my straight-edge, old-fashioned dad asked, he told him a disturbing story about his last trucking run. He was alone at a truck stop on his birthday. So, his wife arranged for a man to meet with him.
In graphic detail, the guy further explained how the man bit him and it had hurt so much that he punched him. Then he kicked him out of the truck and immediately called his wife to tell her that he wanted a divorce for hiring him someone who would do such a thing. My dad said he had to try so hard to stay professional.
13. 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.
14. Clip, Clop, Drop
I work with court audio, and there was a case between parents fighting over custody for their young daughter. The mother currently had primary custody while daddy had supervised visits through a third-party service. He had to prove that she could be comfortable around him, so he had an idea. He brought a pony to visit.
So, every few weeks, he forked out $600 to bring a pony for his daughter to ride and ran around filming her joy. He used the videos to prove that he should become primary custody carer. Except it totally backfired on him. He was a jerk and wasn’t very good at talking to her without calling her names, which he caught on camera.
15. 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.
16. Too Close To Disclose
A guy came to me because he and his girlfriend were breaking up and he wanted to sue over property that they couldn’t divide including the ownership of the house where they lived. He was 50. He’d lived with his girlfriend for nearly 30 years. His “girlfriend” was 77. During our initial interview, he told me their whole story.
He’d been friends and classmates with his girlfriend’s son in high school and moved in with her when she went through a difficult time after losing her husband. He was useful to her and good company. He played guitar and told funny stories. They went on vacations. He fixed things in her old house that needed attention.
As the years went by, her kids had their own kids, so at age 32, he became “grandpappy.” They had an agreement that her will would convey half of her estate to him. He’s rooting through her files one day and found that she had re-written her will and excluded him. A week later, he called me. I filed suit on his behalf. But that’s when I got a huge surprise.
The woman’s lawyer sent interrogatories addressed to my client. Among other things, the interrogatories asked him to identify other intimate partners he’d had during the 30-year relationship. He didn’t want to answer. I said that he had to. He exploded in a ball of hot anger and fired me. Apparently, he had a secret daughter.
She was from another relationship he had with a woman his own age. I bid him goodbye and wished him good luck.
17. 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.
18. Nefarious Nanny
My very first client after graduating from law school seemed like a normal woman from our first meeting, but she ended up being quite the nightmare. My client and her husband had two kids in their preteens. My client decided one day, totally out of the blue, that she was done with her marriage and so kicked the husband out of the house.
She did everything in her power to keep him away from their kids out of spite. At some point, she took in a teenaged homeless girl to be a full-time nanny despite the fact that she was at most two years older than one of the kids who was a freshman in high school. A year later, the wife paid for the nanny’s transition.
This was when she came to me for representation. At our second meeting, she was with the nanny who she only referred to as “Mark.” I honestly believed at first that he was her son. Then the wife told me she’d tried multiple times to have the husband taken into custody thinking it would get her full custody of the kids.
She had gotten a restraining order and then kept trying to trick him into breaking it—and her plan was utterly chilling. She had the nanny call him in tears saying their younger child had been in an accident and she couldn’t tell if he was breathing. So, the husband rushed over in a panic, only to be immediately taken by officers waiting for him.
The wife’s story was that the husband threatened that he was on his way to attack her and abduct the kids. But she didn’t stop there. On another occasion, the wife bought illicit substances then paid her father to plant them in the husband’s car. The father got cold feet at the last minute and confessed to the husband what his daughter wanted him to do.
Less than a week after the nanny turned 18, the wife came into my office with them and proudly declared that they were dating and madly in love. Despite all of this, the wife got primary custody of the kids who referred to the nanny as Daddy. She also got a hefty monthly spousal support payment.
19. 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.
20. Ready, Set, Action!
A client was accused of harming his children. The little kids gave graphic, detailed testimonies against their daddy. It looked bad. But then my brother, a failed actor, noticed something incredibly disturbing. In the transcript, one kid asked if they’d hit their mark. He wondered how they knew acting jargon and subpoenaed the wife’s checking account.
Sure enough, he found that she was paying for acting lessons. So, he put the sketchy “acting coach” on the stand who, in a panic, shared videos of “practice interrogations” with the kids coaching them on what to say about their father. The father ended up with sole custody of their kids.
21. Love Don’t Cost A Thing
I represented a husband divorcing his wife of over 35 years. At mediation, they divided up a half million in assets within half-hour. But then, for two hours, they fought over two hurricane glasses from Pat O’Brien’s and a pitchfork. The mediator said that the wife wanted it badly because it was a gift from her father.
The husband swore and said that they’d bought it at the store together a couple of years before. They settled after spending over $1,000 in attorney fees combined for the glasses and pitchfork. They remarried three months later.
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.
23. 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.
24. Still Not Over It
My aunt has been divorced for quite some time. She drives her attorney crazy with her demands. She took her husband to court over switching the beneficiary of his life insurance policy from her to their children. But it gets worse. After finding out from her friend about his many prescriptions, she wanted court-ordered blood tests weekly.
This, of course, could not be entered into evidence as the friend worked for the pharmacy and could be fired. The wife also wanted to know when and where he worked so that her private investigator could follow him and make sure that his new girlfriend was not staying with him at his hotel room charged on his work card.
25. In The Fine Print
I got a court order on my desk that explicitly banned a father from playing Minecraft with his son on the internet. The ex-wife alleged that the in-game chat was a form of improper contact that wasn’t outlined in the custody or visitation plan. If this was after divorce, it’s hard to imagine what caused that to happen.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. Micro Waves Of Emotion
I was sitting in the lobby of the courthouse when my parents were in the courtroom getting divorced. The couple before my parents had come out of the courtroom and were consulting with their lawyers on opposite sides of the lobby. The woman and her lawyer stopped and talked right in front of me—and I couldn’t believe what I heard. She was wild with rage.
Her lawyer finally got her to shut up for a minute and explained that her husband was offering her a settlement in which she’d get the house, the car, full custody of the kids, all the money including their retirement savings, child support and alimony, and all their possessions, just about everything she had demanded.
He just wanted his clothes, a few dishes, and the microwave. The lawyer told her that she’d better take the offer because she certainly was not going to get anything better. The husband had made clear that if there was any argument, he was going to fight for all of it because he was offering this so he could walk away.
He told her that if she made her husband go through a court battle over those few meager things, he was going to make her pay. She started screaming in anger about, “her microwave!” The lawyer told her she could buy another microwave for less than the cost of the time that he will bill her just to have this discussion.
But no, she returned to screaming about how he couldn’t have her microwave and demanded that they go back into court and battle it out for that microwave, no matter the cost. People are stupid.
29. Pays To Listen
My client was living with his wife during their proceedings. He’d call me to complain about how his wife finished a bag of chips then didn’t go to the store to buy another, invited one of her friends over who he hated, watched TV shows instead of fixing dinner, and numerous complaints of her “lack of a moral compass.”
And he paid me $250 per hour for listening to all of that. When a client refuses to settle and notes that “it’s the principle of the thing,” lawyers get rich, and the client needlessly bankrupts themselves.
30. 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!
31. 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.
32. Play Fair
The Xbox and Wii games were in the family living room. The father took the games from the living room and put them in his bedroom. So, the children spent all of their time there. The mother went to court just to obtain an official order that the Xbox and Wii be returned to the living room. They spent thousands on this.
33. Priceless Principle
I worked as a tech guy at a family law practice for five years. In a small town, they also had me work homicides and intimidate the PI who had to serve people as I look a bit rough. One couple spent $40 grand and two mediation meetings fighting over a set of Christmas red chili peppers lights. They had a lot in assets.
There were two oil and gas companies, multiple houses, and tons of cash between them. But according to the transcript, “No DICE! She’ll never get those Chili Lights on my watch. It’s about the principle!”
34. Expiration Date
Their discussion about the division of assets included fighting over opened boxes of grocery items. After the couple refused to compromise over a half-eaten box of cereal, the judge went ballistic. He just lost it. He told them that he was going to make a summary judgment and exclude the couple because they were wasting the court’s time.
35. 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.
36. 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.
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.
38. Shuttered Down
The couple was just about to settle with only one matter to contend—their lovely Victorian home’s windows. The husband had lost his job at one point and restored all the old windows. It was time-consuming and labor-intensive. While discussing their division of assets, they agreed to split the sale of the house equally.
But he demanded more for the windows. She said that she should get the money because she was supporting them then. He said she could keep the entire house, but he wanted the windows. They went back and forth endlessly while the mediator tried in vain to get them back into a neutral area. The whole agreement fell apart.
Even though mediation cost less than going to court and saved a lot of time, they decided to go to court because neither party could give up on those windows.
39. Pet Paperwork
A divorce decree was 30-pages long detailing who had custody of their two dogs, which vet to see, what food, etc. It was ridiculous. It described the plan for the next several years for who had custody on what holiday and how the dogs had to be transported. If you could think of a ridiculous requirement, it was in there.
40. Not Worth It
The wife came to court with an itemized list of how much everything he owned was worth when they were dividing their assets. It was millions. But on her list were items like a shovel for $100, 50 flowerpots for $75 each, packs of pens for $50 each, and other small-ticket items that she listed at four times their worth.
There were maybe a handful of legitimate items on the list, but that was it. On the next court date, the husband brought in the shovel as it particularly annoyed him and gave it to her lawyer saying, “She can take her shovel. It sucks anyway.”
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.
42. 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?
43. 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.
44. Following Up
The wife and her husband were separated, and the wife decided that it was in her best interest to be the one to get the ball rolling on divorce papers. So, she went in to see a lawyer and told him there were irreconcilable differences and that she was sure he was stalking her now that they were separated and had proof.
She went out to her car and brought in a box of notebooks. Inside the notebooks were written accounts of everything and everywhere her husband had been or was going with things written in like, “My husband’s car is in front of me again. I swear he knows where I’m going to be every day. He’s always there when I arrive.”
Basically, the “proof” that she showed was actually her stalking her husband, but she had it in her head that it was the other way around.
45. Tortoise And The Hare
Both clients were so resentful of each other that everyone had to meet to argue over every scrap of anything. The final object that neither would settle on was a ceramic rabbit statue. It was a really generic one with zero sentimental value. But since it was the final item, neither side wanted to “lose” the last thing.
They dragged it out over three separate meetings for this one statue. Once they settled and signed everything, the “winning” party stuck it on their lawyer’s desk as a gift and walked out.
46. Loop-de-loop Hole
In my state, if a married couple sleeps together after one has an affair and the other has acknowledged it, then the cheating is forgiven and null to the divorce. One rich guy found out that his wife was cheating on him so was divorcing her. This way he’d get a significantly better deal on payments and dividing assets.
So, the wife went and slept with the husband again. Later, she sent a text asking if he’d enjoyed the night before. His response was to send her a naughty photo in agreement. One phone call later to his counsel, and there was a substantially better agreement.
47. 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.
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. Less Is More
One divorced couple came in because the ex-husband wanted to lower his spousal support payments due to his lowered income, great financial responsibilities, and the fact that his ex-wife was declining to seek paid employment, all of which sounded reasonable at first. His income did decline due to “cuts” at his company.
But his new wife who technically worked as his assistant was now making quadruple her salary, more than he ever had. He tried every trick in the book. He claimed that his ex-wife had “unpaid renters” living with her and could charge them rent. These renters were their twins living at home who had just graduated high school and were staying for college.
This was even though the ex-husband was actually allowing his step-daughter and her two children to live with him and his wife. They didn’t expect her to pay rent, and he was paying for her to go to college too. His ex-wife produced evidence that he had told his own children to figure out paying for college themselves.
He claimed that his ex-wife worked as a nanny for free by choice and should be getting paid for work elsewhere. The kids who she watched for free were their three shared grandchildren from their eldest child, two of whom were severely disabled. He claimed that when he married his new wife, he gained over 15 new dependants.
This was technically true, but those dependants were all in Mexico and included his new wife’s grown siblings and their families, none of whom he had ever met.
51. Do What I Can
We represented the wife in her divorce from her husband who was a very prominent businessman. As a show of force by the husband, he purchased our office building and proceeded to make small but annoying changes. He had our parking spaces moved to the furthest spaces or had the elevator be down randomly for maintenance.
And he knew that our offices were located on the top floor. The firm’s lease also happened to end during their divorce proceedings, and we were given notice to vacate in the middle of the winter holidays. After we moved out, the husband put up signs for his company on the outside of the building where our offices were.
52. Paying For Spite
My dad went through some financial troubles because my mom was a shopaholic and took the word “no” about as well as a toddler. So, one day, he figured that he would save more if he stopped his mortgage, property taxes, and car payments. He was later caught for tax evasion. When my mom found out, she immediately filed for divorce.
She insisted my dad didn’t make enough money and kept maxing out her AMEX weekly. Thus, my dad’s solution. During the divorce, she said she wanted the nice cars. Great, take them. Then she told my dad she wanted the house. My dad pleaded with her to reconsider and told her point-blank that it was days from foreclosure.
He told her that she couldn’t afford to take that hit on her credit, but she really wanted to stick it to him and thought he was bluffing. After a week of mediation, he finally gave in and told her to take the house. The house and mortgage were transferred to her name. It foreclosed, and a lien was placed on the house.
Through some shady deal, she short-sold the house without informing the new owner of the lien, failed to claim it on her taxes, and spent the money. When the new owner finds out, she is screwed if the IRS ever comes to collect capital gains. All because she wanted to screw over my dad.
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.
54. 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.
55. 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?
56. 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.
57. 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.
58. 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.
59. Two For One Deal
A client and his wife came to me for a routine real estate transaction. Everything seemed totally normal. But then, at the end of the consultation, the client casually stated that he would like to divorce his wife—who was sitting right there. I was stunned, the wife started crying, and the client began rubbing his wife’s shoulder and told her that everything was going to be okay. That was awkward.
60. Inconsistency Is Key
My co-worker’s wife saw a picture of him at a pool when he was in high school looking really athletic. He was toned, muscular, and tan, but over the ten years after high school, he stopped lifting. So, he lost his muscle tone and got skinny. She wanted him to get back to working out because she liked the way he looked.
He said that it was something that he missed doing and agreed to get a gym membership. But he was going to the gym for four days a week and only worked out for two of them. On the days when he didn’t work out, he sat in the sauna to get sweaty, watched some videos online, then went home. She asked how the gym was once.
And he accidentally let it slip that he was fudging workouts twice a week. She apparently found that to be a deal breaker and filed for divorce.
61. For All My Lives
I had a client who was into a computer game with his wife where they could create an avatar and interact with other people’s avatars online. He suspected his wife of hijinks and made his own avatar to follow her in the game. Sure enough, her avatar was doing the dirty with some dude’s avatar. That was it for my client.
62. 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.
63. 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.
64. 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.
65. Fighting Tooth And Paste
The wife wanted a divorce just two months into their marriage because her husband squeezed the toothpaste from the top and not the bottom. She claimed to have told him a million times over to stop to make using it easier for the both of them. I thought it would’ve been easier if they just had separate toothpaste tubes.
66. In Such Dish-dain
The husband wouldn’t rinse the dishes before he loaded them into the dishwasher. It frustrated his wife who asked him constantly to rinse them before loading. Their compromise was to buy a fancy, top-of-the-line dishwasher to solve their problem. That night, she yelled about the dishes. He filed for divorce the next day.
67. Let The Credits Roll
The husband came home and told his wife she had to contribute more financially to the groceries because she, as a lady, was using more toilet paper than him. She took it as a joke and had a good laugh. That’s when the switch flipped. He got mad and then asked for a divorce. It’s worth mentioning that his salary was three times higher than her salary.
68. 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!”
69. 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.
70. 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.
71. Sticks And Stones
A couple came to marriage counseling trying to work things out before resorting to divorce. The husband was not short of reasons of why he wanted the divorce and went on non-stop. He claimed that he was doing yard work and asked his wife to carry, “a couple of sticks” that he trimmed from the bushes to a pile he made.
He grabbed a big stack and brought it to the pile that he was going to mulch. His wife grabbed a couple of sticks, and he asked her to carry more. So, she grabbed a few more. He kept emphasizing that he said, “a couple!” Because she obviously didn’t realize that he didn’t actually mean “a couple” but closer to a bunch.
Another qualm was that his wife told him that they had enough money to buy a new car. Excited, the husband sat with her to price cars and choose one. She rejected every one that he showed her. They were out of budget. When he got frustrated, he asked what the budget was. She told him that it was $2,000. That ended the marriage.
72. Wheels Of Justice
One couple during their divorce proceedings was stuck on one thing: a hamster. The fight lasted for so long that it died before they had settled. They’d fought for it as a bargaining chip to win favor from their children. With how much it had cost to settle, it would have been cheaper to get another hamster.
73. Taking Too Much
A woman filed for divorce because her husband ate everything he found in their fridge whenever she was at work. So, every night she came back to an empty fridge. He did also cheat on her, but she didn’t care about that as much as the empty fridge. By that point in the marriage, the fridge had pushed her to divorce him.
74. 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.
75. 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.
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.
77. Friend Or Foe
Before they were married, the fiancée almost called off the wedding because the groom forgot to uninvite his friend who was an attractive single woman. Apparently, he was the designated driver for one night when his fiancée was out of town. He dropped everyone off at home and that was the friend who was the last to go.
It made sense because she lived the closest to him less than ten minutes away. There was no history between them, and they’d only interacted in group situations. His fiancée was convinced that they were guilty. This was even after he called her before leaving the bar and again half an hour later when he came back home.
She’d known this for sure because they had a doorbell camera…that she was watching. She asked him all these questions about what they’d talked about at the bar, when they were in the car, and when they were alone in the car. After her interrogation, she casually told him that she didn’t want her to come to the wedding.
He agreed to uninvite her—but that’s where he made a fatal mistake. He forgot to do it. So, he hoped that it all would blow over by the wedding day. But on the day of, the bride saw the friend arrive from her suite and threw a tantrum. The wedding planner locked the bride, groom, best man, and maid of honor in the room and told them to work it out.
It did not go well. The bride wanted the groom to tell her to leave. He pointed out that doing so would disrupt the day and it’d be easier to just pretend she didn’t exist. Wrong answer. The best man got the groom’s phone and called the friend to explain what was happening. She left and never talked to the groom again.
The ceremony began late after the bride’s makeup was fixed. The marriage didn’t last. He realized that the accusations would never end. He couldn’t talk to any woman, friends, coworkers, or even her friends, without her suspicion. We suggested she’d cheated, but he got upset and tried fighting us. No one will know now.
78. 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.
79. 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.
80. Due In Time
The wife worked as a teacher and was paid well, over $100,000 a year. The husband worked as a general laborer and made about half of what she did. During their divorce, he gave her the house free and clear with the understanding that when she retired, he would get 55% of her pension to offset his interest in the house.
She agreed as she had to retire for him to get any money. Years later, the wife retired without telling the husband. When their son realized what she was doing, she told him not to tell his father. He agreed until a few years later when he learned that his father was in trouble with his finances due to economic issues.
So, he’d let slip that his mom has been retired for a few years now. So, the husband contacted his attorney. Then she was in a mess after upsetting the court as she’d previously agreed to the terms. In the end, he got 65% of her pension for the rest of their lives and she had to pay him all the money that she owes him.
81. Can’t Have It All
The husband was an annuities investor and had money and his home before he met his wife. He also had a prenuptial agreement that was ignored during the division of assets. He was also divorcing her for infidelity witnessed by both their children and captured on the house’s security cameras. He lost his case in the end.
The judge determined to split their assets equally. So, they had to sell their house and all of their possessions and divide the profits between them. This was in addition to alimony and child support payments coming from half of his pre-tax wages that he earned. She was also awarded half of his retirement and savings.
The wife received 70% of custody and jurisdiction over visits. She got his three luxury cars leaving him only one. The husband had to foot the bill for all court costs and fees for them both. So, to get revenge, he quit his job, sold his brother the $2.7 million house for $50k, and switched his life insurance recipient to his brother.
82. 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”.
83. 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.
84. 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.
85. Curse In A Blessing
A woman came to us because she wanted to divorce her husband. He had just gotten a new job and a pretty big raise. With this job, he was able to work from home instead of at the office. This meant that the wife wouldn’t be able to continue having an affair with the next-door neighbor as easily anymore with him at home.
86. Clearing The Air
My ex thinks I divorced him because my friends told me to. What really happened was that I was complaining about him to my friend, and she said something that completely opened my eyes. She told me: “You know, he really is a passive-aggressive piece of garbage. He does this all the time.” And that was when I started thinking about how he really did always pull that stuff.
Then I realized how I wasn’t actually depressed. I just hated living with him. She opened my eyes, but I divorced him because he didn’t treat me well, not because my friend told me to.
87. The Conscious Truth
A couple ended things after the woman had a dream that the guy was cheating on her. Her reasoning was, “If it wasn’t true, then I wouldn’t dream about it.” She took it so seriously that she left him. I’ve known the guy for quite a long time, and he maintains that he’s never been unfaithful to anybody, and I believe him.
88. Rage Quit
I got married at 18 to escape a bad life that lasted four years. Once when I was at work, he wasn’t answering any texts or calls. When he did answer and before I could say hi, he said, “What do you want, I’m playing Call of Duty.” I left him a week later. The petty reason is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
89. 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.
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.
91. 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…
92. Waiting Game
My friend’s ex left him because her male “friends” were less attentive and wouldn’t buy her drinks anymore after she had gotten married. It was naturally his fault. Even more hilarious is when he found someone else nine years later, she became upset because he was supposed to wait until she “got her head on straight.”
93. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
The wife was going to make dinner that night. The husband made dinner every single night. She had one job. It was a chicken-based dish. Both had gone into too much detail about their planned meal with drinks. She undercooked the chicken. Their solution? Divorce. The husband said that they had never really argued prior.
94. Window Of Opportunity
My dad was threatening to divorce over a window—but it goes so much deeper than that. It was not just any window, but my bedroom window. He had asked me to open it. But I said no because I was not comfortable with it open. One huge screaming match later, I was left feeling guilty as my mother cried because Dad was threatening divorce and looking to move out.
We couldn’t afford it. We could barely afford where we were renting then. Thankfully, my dad realized how stupid his reaction was over a window after a few days, but now I’m scared that if I refuse to do something like that again, he will actually leave!
95. Worthless Attempt
The divorce ended with the wife getting the house, a generous retirement payment, all the gifted jewelry, and the Harley that she had gotten him for his birthday. A few weeks later, there was an incident at the house. Someone broke in and took her jewelry from her husband and only that. It was meant for their daughter.
She tried to file an insurance claim on the jewelry but forgot to get appraisals. So, the most she could get from insurance was $1,500 for over $20,000 worth of jewelry. There’s reason to believe that she staged the incident and now has jewelry that she can’t sell, wear, or give to their daughter without admitting to it.
96. Not A Lucky Divorce
This woman won $1.3 million in a lottery pool and filed for divorce 11 days later. She never mentioned her lottery winnings to her husband. She also did not disclose the proceeds during the divorce. She would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for a letter that arrived at their former marital residence over two years after the divorce…
The letter was an offer to buy out her lottery annuity with a lump sum payment. The husband promptly lawyered up and the family court awarded 100% of the prize proceeds to him.
97. I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means
This was unbelievable. My co-worker’s girlfriend filed for divorce a few weeks ago. That’s right, girlfriend. They aren’t married, and common-law doesn’t apply in my state. They lived together for five years. She has a job. She isn’t on the mortgage. And she left him a few months ago. There are no kids involved. They were never engaged.
In the “divorce,” she wants him to leave his house and she wants to be the one to move back in. She also wants him to pay her $2,800 a month for some reason. I referred him to my divorce attorney, and now that attorney is probably going to represent him. The chick is nuts. She has already tried to get a restraining order against him that was dismissed.
98. Restraining Order Backfire
A wife filed for a restraining order because she wanted the house during her divorce. The husband has a good job, like $200k per year. The employer finds out about the restraining order and fires the husband. He was a very specialized employee, so the only job he can find close to the house and his daughter is $50k. Ooh boy, did this not go well.
The house gets foreclosed. Child support is set at less than $500 per month. The wife has to get a job as a waitress.
99. Thinking Outside The Box
I worked in family law in California for like two years before deciding I would be much, much happier if I changed career paths. In California, the obligation to pay spousal support (alimony) ends when the recipient begins cohabitation with a new romantic partner. This one guy came into our offices one day. To be fair, he was positively getting screwed by sending half his monthly payments in as alimony.
He told us he was aware of the rule about cohabitation and wanted me to argue his “point” in court. What was his point? You see, his ex was a narcissist. She was in love with, and had begun cohabitation, with herself. Her presence in her apartment should count the same as if there were a romantic partner there. He was bordering on begging me to take his money. I refused.
100. 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.
101. 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.
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