The end of a marriage can be a traumatic thing, as two people who once promised to love and support each other come to realize they are incompatible, or in some cases, are faced with infidelity or deception. Once that happens, anger is a pretty predictable emotional response — and it can fuel all kinds of chaos when it comes to divorce proceedings.
In a thread that has blown up on Reddit, divorce lawyers have been recalling some of the most outlandishly acrimonious separations they’ve ever dealt with in a professional capacity, and the ways that soon-to-be-exes use the law to try to hurt each other.
Like this client, whose seemingly generous offer in the divorce came with a sting in the tail:
“He gave her five of his nine companies,” says Flintoid. “They were the ones that owed seven figures in payroll taxes. He had made her the bookkeeper on paper. She spent decades trying to shake the IRS for the results.”
In other cases, financial cruelty also means animal cruelty. “A soon-to-be ex-husband left his wife’s prized Koi to die on the doorstep of their house,” says hansrudie. “Apparently the value of these fish (six in total) was over $100,000.”
For some couples, it doesn’t matter how long the battle lasts, as long as they win in the end. This is frequently a small (but symbolic) victory.
“My divorce lawyer told me about a case she was involved in where both clients were so petty that they had to all meet to argue over literally every single scrap of everything,” says Much_Difference. “The final object that neither would settle on was a ceramic rabbit statue, a really generic one from Home Depot or whatever. Zero sentimental value but since it was the final item, neither side wanted to ‘lose’ the last thing and they dragged it out over 3 separate meetings for this one thing. I don’t remember which ended up getting it, but once they settled it and signed everything, the ‘winning’ party stuck it on their lawyer’s desk as a gift and walked out.”
Then there’s the downright petty, like this mischievous ex-wife. “I once had a boss who had to leave his house for 6 hours while his ex wife grabbed all the belongings she was legally entitled to,” says JortsEnthusiast69. “When he returned home every knob and handle was gone. Door knobs, cabinet handles, drawer handles, anything that was screwed onto something and used to open it, she had taken.”
And this lady, who went all-in on the vandalism. “She waited until he was on a business trip, came into the house, turned on all of the faucets, plugged the drains, turned off the furnace, and left,” says Slagathar1. “It was -10 degrees . He came back five days later. The house was ruined. The water froze and cracked the foundation.”
These are especially egregious examples of couples who will do everything in their power to spite each other. But it is possible to have a good divorce.
“With this painful process can come a roller-coaster of emotions that are like the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, letting go and acceptance,” says Jennie Marie Battistin, LMFT and founding director of Hope Therapy Center Inc. Marriage and Family Counseling. “The challenge, in this case, is knowing your soon to be ex is alive and you still have to interact.”
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