Divorce is always very unpleasant, even if the two parties are trying to remain civil and somewhat kind to each other.
I mean, think about it: you’re basically telling someone you once wanted to spend your whole life with that you can’t stand them anymore and you don’t want to be with them. EVER AGAIN.
It’s bound to bring up some harsh feelings, to say the least.
And a lot of times, the divorce process gets UGLY.
Now it’s time to dive into these nasty divorce stories from AskReddit users.
“I work in the court system. One case that came in was a couple divorcing on mutual terms, the husband had one child with her and the wife had a child from the previous marriage. He agreed to pay child support for both children, I guess he really cared about this other enough to support her even though it isn’t his obligation.
Judge signs the order, they go to set up the child support account and it gets kicked back saying you can’t have two accounts for one child. Turns out she’s been collecting child support from the biological father the entire time and never told him.
She basically tried to milk two fathers for one child… and the other attorney knew about it.”
2. The ashtray.
“During my first year of law school lawyers from different practices came to give us a peek behind the curtain of different areas.
The divorce lawyer told the story of rather well to do couple that spent months and months and many tens of thousands of dollars fighting over absolutely everything all the way down to a single ceramic ashtray. He couldn’t remember the significance, but somehow it had come through the husband’s family.
Even after everything else had been decided, they spent many more months and nearly $100,000 fighting over just this ashtray. Then, after a court hearing the wife finally won the ashtray.
She promptly strode out to the white courthouse steps…and smashed the ceramic ashtray. Left the pieces all over for the husband to see on his way out.
Decided that day I would not be a divorce lawyer.”
3. Even the knobs?
“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 too. 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. Every day for the next week he would occasionally yell out “SHE TOOK THE FUCKING KNOBS”.”
4. Not settling on this one.
“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. 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.”
5. We’re settling this NOW.
“My friend’s dad “Alan” is a lawyer and does mostly divorces and custody cases. The state where he practices had a lot of mediated divorces – I guess they’re faster and cheaper than the “traditional” route.
He had a couple come that had already figured out division of property, custody, support, etc. Alan figures it’ll be a quick afternoon and he’ll be home in time for dinner. He’s reviewing everything with them and gets to the question of which parent should be called first if the child gets hurt or sick at school or camp.
Well, for some reason this turned into a huge issue. Each parent wanted to be the one who was called first. The couple argued for an hour (for which Alan was being paid hundreds of dollars). After an hour, Alan suggested that they split, take a break, collect themselves and start discussions anew on another day or maybe talk about it on their own and come see Alan when they figured it out.
Nope, the couple insisted on ironing it out right then and there. They fought for SIX HOURS while Alan just sat there and listened. They refused his help, they refused to come to an agreement. By this time it was almost 8pm and Alan said, “I don’t care what you two do, but I’m going home to my wife right now.”
For some reason, that seemed to make something click for them and they did eventually resolve it. Not sure why it took six hours and a couple of thousand dollars to do it, but they did. Guess everyone has a hill to die on.”
6. Moving out.
“Friend was going through divorce from insane husband. He had been texting her pics of the gun he bought and threatening her. Police were called. Nothing they could do because it was ‘only a picture’. He was staying with a secret girlfriend at this point. She allowed him to go get his stuff from the house.
She was scared to go back in the house alone. I went with her. First red flag was he had changed the locks. So we waited for locksmith to open the house and change the locks again. Well, when the door opens…we noticed all of the furniture was gone. So we carefully went upstairs in search of her cats. The entire second floor was empty. No cats. No furniture. Even her clothes were gone.
Come to find out he hired a moving company to pack and take everything, even the food in the fridge. Finally found the cats. He had taken them to another vet in town and put them up for boarding under his sister’s name thinking she would not be able to find them.
He was finally forced to disclose what happened to her possessions. He had them taken to a storage unit far away from the home.”
7. That’s messed up.
“Divorce lawyer here. Spouse had been out of the house for weeks. 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. It was -10 degrees .
He came back five days later. The house was ruined. The water froze and cracked the foundation.”
8. A look of disgust.
“I represented a guy who was on his second marriage. His first wife passed away from cancer, he and his kids were obviously devastated. My client was a pretty sensitive guy with a big heart. His second wife could be very charming–which was why he fell for her–but it was all a facade.
Anyway, to make a long story about a lengthy divorce short, my client met a very kind and affectionate woman during his case. They really hit it off and were basically engaged (even though his divorce was far from over). The fiancee started having health problems and was diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer.
Somehow the Second wife found out about this and tried to use the cancer diagnosis against my client in court. She developed this crazy theory that my client had killed his first wife by giving her cancer and that he was doing the same thing to his “fiancee.” The second wife’s attorney–who was quite good–refused to be a party to it. The attorney never addressed the argument in court and didn’t even ask the second wife any questions about it during testimony.
Rather, the attorney informed the judge that the second wife wished to address the court directly about an issue. The judge allowed her to do so (in a highly irregular move). The second wife told her crazy conspiracy theory to the judge, adding that she was certain my client had try to give her cancer at some point as well.
I wish I had an artist’s rendering of the scene, capturing the Second wife’s crazy eyes, her attorney’s look of shame/embarrassment, the judge’s look of confusion/ennui, and my look of awe-inspired disgust.”
9. Morbid tales.
“Paralegal for divorce lawyer. This one is morbid. We represented a guy who believed vehemently that his wife was assaulting the children. The authorities were involved, Child Services was involved. It was never clear what the truth was or if anything at all was going on, but our client was sure.
He shot his wife dead at a custody exchange in front of the children. He then sat down and waited for the authorities.
We visited him in jail with his criminal defense attorney. As we were leaving, he told me, “well, I guess the divorce is over now.” And he laughed. This was the first time i had ever been speechless.
Edit: This has gotten a lot of responses. I can’t really reveal details or context here. But, I can safely say that defending this action as heroic or understandable is an incorrect takeaway. There are no heroes here. The trauma this man put the children through is incredibly selfish, regardless of his intentions.
There are so many other options that could have been explored. Many of which were being explored when this happened. He abruptly put an end to all of them, making the truth forever impossible to discern.”
10. Ugly stuff.
“She accused her ex-husband of sexually molesting their children while under the watchful eye of the nationally endorsed social workers who oversaw his contact with them (which was only required because he didn’t have his own private accommodation at the time). She also said that his Indian flatmates were inherently “dirty”.
After the obviously false child molestation suggestion I warned her of the consequences of being caught lying about that (i.e. permanent loss of custody). She fired me but kept calling back using fake names to try and obtain free advice which contradicted my advice, but everyone she called immediately spotted her.
This was a long time ago and now I specialise in insurance litigation, which is far less ugly.”
11. What an evil person.
“Husband and wife divorce after husband finds out wife is sexting other guys. He goes into a deep depression. They didn’t have much. Lots of debt and two dogs. One was a dog he had had since before the marriage. He got her. The other dog was only about 3 years old and was bought to keep the older (7 year old) dog company while they worked.
Wife demanded that since he got his dog that she got the other. He is depressed and just wants to move on so he agrees. She gets the dog and has it put down the next day. She didn’t want the dog. She just wanted to hurt him.”
12. Mom and Dad.
“This one hits close to home because it happened between my parents. We had a family “friend” who was a lawyer and my parents agreed that he would be the lawyer for both of them as a mediator. So, as the assets were being divided my dad got absolutely slammed.
She was going to get the house, cars, half his retirement, and an insane amount of alimony. To the tune of like $2,500 a month for the rest of her life. My dad has a good job as a municipal employee, but that was probably 70%ish of his paycheck.
Turns out that my mom and the “family friend” actually conspired to rip my dad off and make it seem like that’s what a divorce settlement looks like. And she was going kick back more money under the table after the dust had settled.
Dad just didn’t know how these things worked. So, after some convincing he finally went out and got his own lawyer. He got a very fair divorce settlement after that.
Mom still to this day can’t understand why we don’t talk to her much.”
13. Bad outcomes for everyone.
“Former divorce lawyer. Not so much “insane”, but unfortunately common–accusing former spouse of molesting the children and domestic violence to retain full custody, and get a restraining order to force spouse ouy of the marital home.
This sets the “new status quo” for custody (which judges are reluctant to disrupt considerably down the road). Takes months if not years for accused spouse to “prove” his innocence and CPS will often find “evidence” where none exists if accusing party is a good enough manipulator/actor.
Pretty horrendous long term outcome for all parties. Kids are brainwashed against estranged parent when young. Later they often grow to resent the accusing parent for poisoning their relationship with estranged parent. Kids often grow up with multitude of mental health issues.
Probably one of the worst things a person can do to their children…all to “win” against their former spouse.”
“Had a client whose wife wanted him out of the house. I told him not to leave, just move to a different bedroom for the time being because once he was out the chances of him ever getting back in were slim.
He texted his wife and told her he was staying in the house. She called back and left a VM that she wanted him out and if he wasn’t out soon, she would start taking out her unhappiness on the children, and would remind the children that mommy was being mean to them because daddy wouldn’t leave.”
Jeez…people can be really awful to each other sometimes, huh?
Have you ever gone through a nasty divorce and had to deal with anything like this?
Or maybe you’re a lawyer and you’ve seen it go down like this in the courtroom?
Please share your stories with us in the comments!