Divorces can be messy. Really really messy. But some, some get truly out of control. The following stories detail the most insane divorce stories that Redditors have ever seen. Some have been edited for clarity.
"I had a client who was trying to get away from her abusive ex and filed for a restraining order. The ex shows up to the final hearing and is making a big fuss about a truck that they bought during their marriage. He said it was just his, and she had no rights to it because their marriage was void.
I asked him on cross-examination what he meant by that, and he said that he had already been married in another state when he married my client. He said that my client had no idea, but that it means their marriage is invalid and the truck was all his.
Not only is that legally inaccurate, the transcript of the hearing was promptly turned over to the police, who were actively investigating him for bigamy.
Oh, and the judge gave my client the truck along with a two year no-contact order."
"One of the very few family law cases I handled as a young attorney sticks out to me.
Young woman and young man have child. Young woman seeks divorce from young man because he enjoys the 'thug life;' he had recently been arrested and charged for possession with intention to distribute (felony) and in possession of a weapon (unlawful carry). The young man doesn't like her leaving him. He hires a local big name top divorce attorney (granted, very rural area). He gets a temporary divorce order entered saying she can not have overnight guests of the opposite gender (common in rural, conservative areas, think it's mostly a thing of the past in more urban places).
Young woman starts seeing someone new. Young man is very upset about this. Has his fancy lawyer ask for a hearing accusing her of violating court order and seeking full custody, on top of attorney fees. Young woman, on advice from a mutual friend, hires me for this hearing. I sit down with opposing counsel, and she basically tries to strong arm me with her experience and lays out egregious terms...mother must not only give up primary custody, but must have visitation with a supervisor and pay child support and attorney fees. She knows I'm a new baby attorney in town (fairly certain I had been licensed for less than a year). I balk at those conditions, and she says she'll see us in court.
I go into hearing with a copy of his probation arrangement on his possession with intent to sell and unlawful carry. He hasn't told his attorney about this and she is unaware. She calls him up establishes how my client had her new boyfriend over on x, y, and z nights. Judge is VERY conservative, not pleased.
Then, opposing counsel passes the witness. I ask him if he has a job. 'No.' What do you do for money? 'Things here and there.' Oh? Ms. opposing counsel is awfully expensive... Do you sell contraband? '...What?'
'Have you ever sold contraband to make ends meet?'
'Uhhh no.' Introduce a copy of his guilty plea and straight probation sentencing. Judge is now staring daggers at him. I lean over to my client sitting next to me, and whisper, 'If you took a blood test today, be honest, would you be completely clean?'
I ask the young man, 'When was the last time you did an illegal substance?' His attorney objects, but the judge overrules...I know this judge will blood test people on the spot as he is also the misdemeanor illegal substance court judge. 'It's been years, I'm clean.'
'So, if you were tested, you'd be clean?'
'Yes.' Opposing counsel asks the same of my client, we agree. Judge has them both tested. He tests positive. My client is clean.
Judge denies his motion and asks me to send in new temp orders where young man is required to maintain employment and start paying child support and places him on supervised visits.
Icing on the cake, opposing counsel actually calls me and leaves me a voicemail congratulating me on, and I quote, 'handing her butt to her for the first time in a long time.'"
"I took my ex to court because she had used my social security number to sign up for cable. I found out about it when she stopped paying for the service. She played herself by just being herself. We show up to court, I turn in the contract from the cable company, showing my social security number, and her own name signed on the contract. She didn't even try to forge my signature, she signed her own name in and tried to deny that she had any part of it. The judge tore her apart and it was nice."
"A friend kept meticulous records of how much time his estranged wife spent with their daughter. He used pink highlighter for Mom and blue highlighter for himself.
Mom sailed into arbitration demanding full custody, handsome child support, and the house. Dad pulled out three year's 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."
"My husband's kids asked us to fight for full custody after years of systematic abuse from their mom.
My stepdaughter was assaulted and mom decided to marry a guy who was best friends with the guy who assaulted her. Mom never told us what happened, never got her counseling. Never reported it to the police.
In mediation, she brought up a conversation I had with her in which she denied ever happening until then. She started saying lie after lie and all my husband had to say was, 'My wife had that conversation with you to explain how uncomfortable my daughter is living with this man because he is connected to her assault.'
The mediator was not amused. She said, 'You have someone living in your house who is connected to your daughter's assault? Your relationship with your children is broken.'
She spent the rest of the session sobbing and signed away custody because this was just the tip of the iceberg that we had on her, and she knew it.
Hearing her sobbing made me so happy after all she put these kids through. I had to walk my stepdaughter into the police station to report her assault.
I usually don’t want people to suffer but after warning her this guy was coming between her and her kids and then her lying about the context of that conversation, I'll make an exception. I tried to stop her from the chain of events that lead us to court, and she tried to use it against me."
"This wasn’t my case but I followed it closely because it was an acquaintance’s divorce proceedings. He and his now ex-wife shared some commercial property that was worth some dough. They were both on the paperwork/had access to the same info. Well, things hit the fan and the property was in arrears and I think some lien was filed. The husband would try to talk to his then wife about the whole thing, but she would blow him off. Not only would she ignore him and the finances, she started cheating on him.
Fast-forward to divorce. It’s contentious and they get down to fighting for the primary residence whose market value (unencumbered) is much less than the commercial building. She demanded the house and the husband effectively offered to give her the commercial building if he could keep the residence. She never paid attention to how bad off the commercial building was and for some strange reason her lawyer didn’t do any due diligence, so they took the deal.
I don’t know if the asset allocation included any saving conditions or caveats for the ex-wife, but I did like to see that her own disinterest may have led to bargaining for an under water property instead of a paid off house."
"A wife filed for a restraining order because she wanted the house during divorce. Husband has good job, like $200k per year. Employer finds out about restraining order, husband is fired. He was very specialized employee so only job he can find close to house, ex-wife, and daughter is 50k.
House gets foreclosed. Child support at less than $500 per month. Wife has to get job as waitress. Four cars get repossessed."
"When I was 4, I had 3 older siblings. My brothers were 10 and 13, my sister was 7. My dad was fighting for custody of all of us as we currently only spent weekends at his - but during that time we would all complain about what bad things would happen during the week with our mother.
Ultimately the judge ruled that the kids were old enough to decide where they wanted to be (my sister would make my choice for me). My mum knew for a fact she would lose all of us this way, she was aware all of us preferred our dad. It’s at this point she stands up in court and says, 'You can have all of them but (me) isn’t even your's, so you can’t have her.'
My entire family were there, nobody had any idea why she would say such a thing, a lot of people are crying and my dad is in a state of shock. Because of this, the judge orders a DNA test to be done, but either way, the kids still get to choose at the next court date as his name is present on all of our birth certificates - I guess she forgot that eh? The judge gives this extra time due to the state my dad is in, just in case this changes anything for him, and whether he will still want custody of me under these new circumstances.
Now it should be noted that my mom was not fond of any of us, especially the boys, whom she already knew were a lost cause. But she would no longer receive benefits or money from my dad, so she needed some kids around at least. She took this time to convince my sister that with her brothers gone, she would be able to afford all the things she wanted. Ice cream, toys, later bed times, you name it.
My brothers chose my dad, my sister chose my mum. I had a pretty rough upbringing because of her decision, and to this day she regrets it. She was never treated any better, no treats, no toys. It turns out my mom wasn’t completely lying, though, my dad wasn’t my biological father. According to my family, this was a huge weight on him for a very long time. He remained an incredible father in my life but sometimes something would happen that would cause an odd or upsetting reaction out of him, and that’s the sole reason why. It really changed his and my life."
"My client was in a custody battle with her ex. I was a support person, not her lawyer. They told her the wrong time to arrive, so I was unable to stay until the afternoon. My client hadn’t been letting the baby go on visits with the guy for a couple weeks (violated custody order) because she was worried he was mistreating the child (bruises, fearful, etc.), but she couldn’t get a hearing in family court right away. CPS was in the process of investigating. The judge gave the guy, who was a bad dude and had been arrested for domestic violence recently, full custody of the baby and supervised visits for my client.
Visits took awhile to set up and a couple months passed. My client called me crying after the first visit and told me the baby looked skinny. The next visit was in a couple days, so I told her to take some pictures of the baby just wearing a diaper and send them to me. She sends me the picture at the next visit. You know pictures of children when they have gone through a famine? That’s how he looked, swollen stomach, skinny arms and legs, listless eyes, hair falling out, etc. He was a little healthy chunk-chunk since he was born, so clearly something was wrong.
Turns out the guy had been starving him because the baby was 'too fat,' but we all knew it was because he hated my client. I was so angry at the family court judge because the man never should have had custody. Also, she never had him do a paternity test. CPS got involved and turns out this guy wasn’t even the bio father.
I regret to this day not being able to stay for that hearing because maybe it would have been different if I had been there. The baby ended up being okay."
"When my father-in-law and mother-in-law got divorced, she wanted to file jointly for the previous year because they were still married. They would have gotten a decent refund. He insisted on filing separately, despite the fact that he would owe 4k, because he wanted her to also owe the IRS. He did it to 'frost her tail.'"
"I was involved in a custody case where a wife cheated on her husband and had a child as a result. She let the husband believe the child was his until their daughter was about five years old and the couple was divorcing. To stop him from getting custody, she convinced the biological father to try to get custody thinking that if he won, she would still wind up with the child. It became a huge three-way fight, multiple sets of grandparents involved, attorneys fees skyrocketed because the case would have been pretty quick otherwise. She couldn’t pay her attorney, tried to get the bio dad to, which got even messier, etc. Basically there still isn’t an agreement all parties will follow. They are in and out of court every year or so. She did it to herself."
"This happened when I was in the Navy.
So, this Submariner gets divorced from his wife. Ex-wife originally gets custody of their son, due to the nature of the Submariner's operation schedule. Ex-wife later loses custody due to being convicted of Child Abuse/Neglect. The ex-wife wasn't having this, because now there was no more free money for her.
The Submariner gets a new girlfriend, and gives her guardian rights over his son while on deployment. They live in California due to orders, and the ex-wife lives in Michigan (if I recall). The ex-wife waits until Submariner goes on deployment and 'serves' him papers for a custody battle, again on the grounds of his schedule. The trial is set for the next month in Michigan.
The problem with being stationed onboard a sub, you only surface every couple months and almost never have communications off-ship. Sub guys give family or SO's Power of Attorney all the time because of this. The court papers were sent and the trial occurred when he had no communication. The female judge who presided over the case sympathized with the ex-wife, decided that children belonged with their mother and not in the care of random women, and that the abuse conviction was likely false. Ex-wife was granted custody by default, and the judge tried to get the Submariner on Contempt of Court for not showing up. Until his Chain of Command heard about it.
See, it's illegal in the US to punish a service member for missing a court date due to military operations or deployments.
The Submariner's Chain of Command called a JAG, who assigned the Submariner a lawyer. His lawyer took the appeal to the Michigan State Supreme Court. The original judge isn't a judge anymore, and the ex-wife is now permanently labeled unfit to care for children."
"The ex-wife was a lawyer and represented herself. The ex-husband had a pretty terrible lawyer. The ex kept hauling things back to court trying to get more benefits from him and his lawyer just let it keep happening and it was destroying his life. For instance, she had allegations of child abuse. This process was taking so much money that the ex husband could barely afford an awful apartment and couldn't afford a car, both of which figured in later for custody.
Finally, the ex-wife's father (also a lawyer) asked to meet with the judge and mentioned a few things that he knew were going on...
-One of the children was manic-depressive and the ex-wife would take him off his meds before it was the ex-husband's turn for custody. The child abuse allegations came from the ex-husband trying to restrain the child during a manic episode because he wasn't medicated.
-The ex-wife had intentionally timed the child abuse allegation to fall just before the holidays so the ex-husband couldn't see the kids for Halloween - Thanksgiving - Christmas. She bragged to family that it would do the maximum emotional damage possible doing it then.
-The ex-wife had forged documents to overstate the ex-husband's income when alimony was being determined
-Oh... and the ex-wife was sleeping with the ex-husband's lawyer.
The ex-husband's lawyer was reported to the bar (not sure what happened there). The Judge order a review of everything and arranged for a new lawyer for the ex-husband. It was looking like the alimony would be vastly reduced and the ex-husband was going to get custody. But then the ex-husband died (blood clot) two months later. Years of being messed with, finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but ended up being the wrong light at the end of the wrong tunnel."
"My ex messed herself over pretty good in our divorce proceeding.
Right after we had separated, we both had to move in with family. School wasn't in session, and we didn't have any custody agreement yet, so we had been swapping the kids every week. Then one day while the kids were with her, she emails me and tells me that she had enrolled the kids in a school near her. As soon as I got that email from her, I went to my attorney. He filed a motion with the court to get a temporary custody order until we finished the divorce. When he got the date for the hearing, he sent my ex the proper notification, filed it with the court, etc. The day of the hearing, we're waiting in court for her to show up, and she never does. So the judge gave me temporary custody of my kids. Which eventually became full custody once our divorce was finalized.
I later found out that the reason she didn't show up was that she had the idea that somehow my attorney was trying to trick her. So she called the court about the hearing date, but says she was told a different, later day. The date of which fell on a Sunday.
It still boggles my mind. I mean, if you're going to trick someone into going to court on the wrong date (ignoring the fact that an attorney would probably get disbarred for intentionally doing so), why would you pick an earlier date than the actual date? And why would you not just show up anyway? If the date was fake, she still could've made the real date. And if it was real, she wouldn't miss it. And don't you write important appointments on a calendar so you don't forget? How do you not see that it's on a Sunday and say 'hmm....that's not right.'
Oh, and the kicker? She never actually tried to enroll my kids in a school near her. Turns out, she just said it because she was angry about something I'd said (I don't even remember what)."
"Short as possible backstory: my dad's a narcissistic prick who emotionally abused us all growing up. Mom was a stay at home mom until I turned 16, and entered the work force at minimum wage, and worked her way up to management. Dad worked a trade job at an auto company, making 3 - 4x as much as her, in the 6 figures.
At the beginning of proceedings, she tried to settle early on. She basically wanted enough to cover health care, because that was her biggest worry financially. He basically wanted to give her nothing. Things got very nasty, he hired a horrible see you next Tuesday of a lawyer, who would constantly insult my mother to her face. This pushed mom to ask for much more than she originally wanted. Dad was told by his lawyer mom wouldn't get a penny. After a year of battle, judge hand down final judgment. Dad has to pay $1,500/ month.
Three days after judgment, my younger sister is at dad's house. Mom picks her up, asks why he hasn't gone to work yet, sister goes in to check on him. She finds him barely breathing with vomit all over. He had acetaminophen poisoning. There was an empty bottle of hydrocodone/acetaminophen and another big bottle of Tylenol on his nightstand. The doctors said there was no way to be 100% how much he had taken because he went to bed early and my sister hadn't seen him for over twelve hours, but with the amount still in his blood and the degree of organ failure they could say with 70% sure it was an intentional overdose.
He did all of this before putting his brand-new car in his name alone, and before any other payments to mom went through, besides splitting the sale of our house. And now, you're probably thinking there's no way a person could attempt suicide only out of spite. There was no note or anything. But when fighting with his sisters over who would make his medical and financial decisions, which is a whole other story, we found out he wrote his sister a check for $75,000, with a note saying, 'Don't let the girls have this,' meaning my mom and sisters.
Ford is still going after my mother for the car payments. The county administrator (a judge decided to put a third party in charge of all decisions concerning him since it was contested) waited nearly two years before letting it get repossessed. Her credit was tanked. My sister (who was only 16 at the time) is still dealing with PTSD from finding him. And this wall of text was just the SHORT version. But my dad is still living with the side effects, it's basically like he had a very bad stroke, he's in an assisted living facility and none of his kids have anything to do with him anymore."
"I was in court for one of the first times after passing the bar exam and handling a routine child support case. The events that transpire do not involve my client from that day.
When one party is unrepresented in family court (in Massachusetts), there is a pre-trial meeting with the probation officers, so they can assist the judge in framing the case. These probation officers are trained social workers who act as mediators in these instances, so nothing like criminal probation officers.
So these two parties are meeting. You can see the guy is just angry over everything, but they are making progress working out the divorce. Then all of a sudden he stands up and throws his chair over and yells, 'Eff you Kim, you took my house, you took my kids, you even took my freakin dog. I will kill you if you think you are keeping my name too, you absolute slag!'
Within seconds, he is restrained by court guards and taken to a private room. He ended up being arrested for threatening to kill her. All because she wanted to keep his last name instead of going back to her maiden name to make it easier on the kids."
"The mother of my stepdaughter lost custody 3.5 years ago and has since made our lives a nightmare. She had supervised visitation and slowly built it up to non-supervised. Then she received every other weekend, but she was told she won’t be getting more than that. So my stepdaughter's mom had a great plan! Move 15 hours away and push the child into saying she wants to live with her and even if that fails, she was expecting to get my stepdaughter ALL holidays and breaks...
Yeah, that fired back. Stepdaughter doesn’t want to live with her, nor does she want to travel far or be far away from her friends for weeks in the summer (she’s a teen). The judge was irritated with mom because she packed and left the state without notice. Now she only has 19 custody days a year and the judge said it’s up to my stepdaughter if she wants to go or not."
"Knew a guy going through a divorce whose wife had cheated on him. During the proceedings, he liquidated his 401k and sold the house, which was in his name. It was more than a million dollars. He was a dual US/Romanian citizen, he just left for Romania a few days before their divorce was final with the money.
All she got was her BMW lease."
"A friend of mine was going through a divorce and his lawyer kept putting off the trial. He just wanted it over with but the lawyer said trust me, this is going to be good. Turns out this dude's wife was pregnant with another man's baby. When they went to court, she had a big baby bump. The judge asked if all three kids were his, and she replied 'No, just those two.' Wish I could have seen the look on her lawyer's face. Basically, they're getting a divorce settled, and she ends up openly admitting in court that she cheated on him and has been pregnant with another guy's baby for a while now."
"A friend of messed over his ex-wife. He thought things were not going well. She seemed off. He did a little digging, and saw enough to prove she was cheating. He hired a private detective. The detective got pics of her kissing a dude, going to his house, plus the cell phone call log, credit card statements, etc. Then...SHE asks for a divorce and claims he is being unfaithful. She claims she has been nothing but a loving wife, yet provides no proof he is cheating. He pulls out a 3-inch binder with a couple months' logs of photos of her going into restaurants with her boyfriend, pictures kissing him in the parking lot, pictures of her car at his place, text log, etc, etc, etc.
Both married people had equally high paying jobs. She wanted to take him to the ringer. He threw out some offer like 25K cash, and nothing else, no retirement funds, no house, no child support, etc, plus he wanted the kids. Basically take 25K and walk! Her lawyer told her she better take it and she did."
"My ex husband's lawyer worked him over BIG time. My ex husband's lawyer threaten harm to me if I didn't sign my parental rights over...both verbally and through text from my ex...multiple times. Mind you, my ex just got out of jail for attempting to murder me...in front of our four-year old. I gave them three years to come clean about what happened, and they wouldn't budge. All his lawyer kept doing was filing an extension and was collecting my ex's money. My ex doesn't have much, so the lawyer put him on a payment plan that docks his checks automatically. The judge even gave them so many chances to come up with a custody plan, but they always wanted to file an extension or play sick.
I even tried to help my ex to see what was going on, but he kept saying I was feeling the pressure and needed to feel it. Then they got the idea that they could stop me deploying if I had a court date... I had it. I got fed up and presented allllll the evidence including proof of the threats and all. Turns out, his lawyer has no experience in family law, but was a lawyer for an oil company...that's it. The judge was not happy and demanded he explain all of what was withheld in a week and why was he wasn't complying with her requests. Gave me sole custody, I deployed, and that was that. He played sick the day he was supposed to go to court.
Four months later, he tried to go to my Command to say I was doing something illegal and DEMANDED I be jailed...legal slapped him down and I haven't heard a peep since."
"When I was young, my parents got divorced and my father had an attorney who was in cahoots with the judge. They purposefully drew out the case as long as possible to mess with my mom. The judge was very rude to my mom and treated her like garbage in court. She lost custody even though I told the judge I wanted to live with her. So she:
-Represented herself throughout the entire process after she came to the conclusion that her attorney wasn't doing enough to stop the collusion.
-Documented every single way in which they broke the rules of custody procedures (aka intentionally drawing the case out and the collusion and what not) and appealed to the higher courts, forcing a do over on the last hearing. She spent hours in the courthouse researching the laws and reading old cases (case law) to find similarities. This forced my dad's original attorney to resign from the case to avoid trouble.
-Found several people on the street to accompany her to the hearing to bear witness if the judge chose to act inappropriately.
After she brought the extra people with, the judge suddenly remembered how to do his job and properly treat people, and he finally gave her custody back."
"My friend went through a divorce. His soon to be ex-wife was in a new relationship and the new guy was calling all the shots. She had been happy with the money she was getting and visitation my mate was getting, but the new guy wanted to mess with him so it turned into lawyer war.
The outcome in court was the judge ruled my mate was to pay $1,000 a month less than he was already was, which he quite happily did for his troubles. He put the extra money into a fund for the kids to used to help buy a house when they reached a determined age."
"I was getting divorced and we decided to use a mediation service to work out the details and then file and finalize pro se (without a lawyer). As a part of the mediation process, I hired a guy to review things for me. He was clear that he had been an attorney, but that he was no longer practicing law, but would advise me. Not even going to lie, I found him through the mediation firm's website and really knew little about him.
One of my ex's crazy friends told her that she was getting worked over and suggested she hire one of the local TV lawyers. Of course, he immediately told her that mediation was stupid and he could get her a lot more money for a fee. I relayed this back to my guy, and he got a little irritated. Even more so when he heard the name of the attorney she had hired. He told me that he would represent me in court
He showed up with me at court, greeted the judge and the other attorney and let them know he would be representing me. A day later, my ex called me and begged me to go back to mediation after her attorney told her that he would have to quadruple his fees to represent her.
Ends up my guy was one of the top lawyers in my state and had retired 3 years prior. He was a big believer in mediation and had dedicated himself to working with people to get them to choose that route. He had talked with the other attorney after the appearance and let him know he was upset that this was pulled out of mediation and was going to represent me at his mediation rate of $50 an hour."
"I was litigating a custody dispute on behalf of the mother in an incredibly conservative jurisdiction. One of the most common ways to get custody was to allege and addiction to lovemaking or a 'smut' addiction because the threshold for it was basically non-existent.
For this hearing however, we lucked out with the judge, who I knew from other cases. Opposing counsel tried to 'gotcha!' me into settling before the hearing by showing me surprise explicit texts between mom and her new boyfriend. This is, of course, not law and order and you can't introduce surprise evidence. So we go through with the hearing, I object to the explicit texts, but say I would allow them to be ready into the record, in their entirety.
So the uptight, very conservative local attorney gets to spend the next twenty-five minutes or so reading messages in open court occasionally asking if she could gloss over parts but no, I didn't feel it would be appropriate.
But this was like the third hearing we had to amend custody because this guy felt his ex-wife having a boyfriend meant she was addicted to getting it on. They alleged the explicit messages happened while the kid was in Mom's custody. But they based that on the timestamp of the screenshots. The timestamp on the texts was clearly at a time when the kid was not even around and mom was safe to get freaky over the phone.
The judge had heard enough of his story and awarded attorneys fees and put in the order, consistent with the vexatious litigant statute, that if dad would continue to be liable for her attorneys fees if he kept pushing this narrative.
It was the only joy I got from practicing family law."