Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out. For married couples, things can get really crazy when it comes to saying goodbye, a process that often involves splitting assets. And while some people can get it done without any drama, that’s not how it ends for most people, especially the ones in these stories.
These people have tricked their soon to be exes in ways that we have to admit, are pretty creative. Others have played the game so dirty that we can’t even refer to them as being human anymore. And they’ve all been witnessed by divorce lawyers. If you want to read about some of the funniest, most heart-breaking and downright craziest divorce stories ever, keep scrolling.
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40. Humanity At Its Worst
I handled a divorce between a teacher (wife) and a CVS cashier (husband), where I represented the wife. For all intents and purposes, the wife was the breadwinner of the family and she supported herself, her husband, and their two children. I should note that one of the children had severe autism and required intensive (and expensive) rehab and education. During the process of the divorce, the husband (living alone) sued the wife (caring for both children) for temporary spousal support. He met all the statutory guidelines to receive it. But, it just came off as slimy.
At the day of the hearing, the judge reviewed all of the facts and spent 20 minutes lambasting the husband. He called him a “vile creature that was everything wrong with society.” The judge then told us that his “hands were tied” and that he was forced to grant the spousal support. But he let everyone know how little he thought of the husband. As we were leaving the court, the husband just kept saying to my crying client “Just like Goodfellas – Screw you, pay me.” It was literally humanity at its worst.
39. Going To The Extreme
The husband had a feeling that his wife was cheating and hired a personal investigator to get evidence; it didn’t take long. He then transferred his deed of the house over to her, which she couldn’t afford alone.
He also hired every family law attorney within 100 miles as a retainer (you basically drop $50 or so and your spouse can’t hire them) and he filed. Throughout the divorce, the house got behind, but he had a copy of the deed transfer. Long story short, she lost everything.
38. The Acting Wasn’t Good Enough
My brother is a divorce attorney. He was representing a guy in a divorce custody battle who was accused of horrific child abuse. There were very graphic, very detailed depositions from the young kids against their father and things looked grim. Then my brother, a failed actor, notices the deposition transcript (done by social workers under oath) contains a question at the end from one of the kids “Did I hit my marks?”
He wonders how little kids know any kind of acting jargon. He subpoenas the wife’s personal checkings account during discovery and sure enough, there are acting lessons. He then deposes an extremely sketchy “acting coach,” who becomes panicked and produces DVDs of “practice interrogations” with the kids. It included hours of coaching the kids on exactly what imaginary things to say about their daddy. He says it was his one and only “Perry Mason moment” in 20+ years of practice, and the dad got sole custody of the kids.
37. Memory Problems
My client’s husband cheated on her with another woman and he took some photographs of the, ahem, penetration. She found the pictures on her husband’s computer, but his face was not in any of them.
So during a deposition, I had to ask him if the private part in the photographs belonged to him, and he said he wasn’t sure. When I pressed him on why he could not identify his own junk, he claimed that exposure to agent orange in Vietnam caused him to have memory problems.
36. Worse For Her Not For Me
I did some consulting work for two divorce attorneys when I was in grad school; their client was a career airline pilot. His wife worked part-time, so there was a huge income disparity. It was an ugly divorce.
During the process but before the final decree, tax time rolled around. The wife’s attorney calls my guys and says, “Her accountant just called. If they can just share their W-2’s and file jointly, they each stand to save about $8, 000 over married filing separately.”My guys took that info to the husband. He says, “Screw her. Losing $8,000 is going to be way worse for her than it will be for me.” Cold as ice, man.
35. Bratty Nasty Crazy Susan
My uncle represented this guy getting a divorce from his wife of 15 years. It was a super toxic breakup and they split everything 50/50, even the land that the house they lived in sat upon. Well, she decides to build a house right behind the other house; mind you, this was a lot of land-probably 200 yards separating both home sites, so that the back of the houses faced each other. The house gets built and my uncle gets a call from his client asking about the legality of a situation he had gotten himself into. Apparently, his ex-wife would spend a lot of time in her backyard, so he saw her all the time.
What he did was buy a female dog and name it the same name as his ex-wife. Anytime he would let his dog back in from letting her out he would yell “Susan, you brat! Get in here!” He would also yell if she was peeing on the flowers, “Susan, you’re nasty! Quit peeing on the flowers!” or “Susan ,you’re crazy! Quit digging in the dirt!” The ex-wife called the cops on him a couple of times, but there was nothing they could do because the dog was registered under the name of Susan.
34. The Mileage
I’m a lawyer. So throughout the divorce proceedings, there was a car that was a huge point of contention between the husband and wife. After months and months of saying he would never let the wife have the car, the husband concedes in exchange for something great, like one of their summer houses.
It turns out he had been driving the car for 3 hours every day in a big loop around the city, putting thousands and thousands of miles on it, basically making it worthless. The amount of planning and spite that went into that was amazing.
33. Telling On Yourself
I’m not a divorce lawyer, but I used to work with an electrician who said he did a lot of side work without reporting it. In the middle of a nasty divorce, his soon to be ex-wife decided she was going to report him for not paying taxes.
It turned out that there was over $20, 000 in taxes owed. Of course, she didn’t realize that since they were married when he did the work, she owed half. He said it was the best ten grand he ever spent.
32. It’s Not About the Ashtray. It’s About Winning the Fight.
I had a husband and wife go toe to toe over an ashtray they got in Vegas at some point (neither smoked strangely enough). They spent nearly $5,000 for me and another attorney to duke it out in court over the silly thing. Prior to the proceeding, I explained what the cost would be for them to argue over something this silly and that he could give me $2,500 and I would fly to Vegas for the weekend and get him an identical one instead.
He said he didn’t care about the costs because he intended to smash it on the courthouse steps in front of her if we won. We won and he followed through with the smashing. He laughed and said the look on her face was worth much more than $2,500. People get crazy in divorce proceedings!
31. Shrimpy Curtains
A husband cheated on his wife and she found out. One day, she went back to their old house and put shrimp in all the curtain rods.
The husband who was trying to sell the house couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from. He ended up selling it at a massive loss and below value due to the smell. The wife was the one who ended up buying it.
30. No ‘Spiritual’ Intimacy
The wife claimed that her husband was impotent, and they never had bed contact for almost a year from the time of their marriage. In the husband’s defense, he said, that he begged his wife to be intimate but she does not want to, so he did not do it again.
The court asked the man for an examination, but he refused. In the end, he agreed. The doctor found out that he was not impotent, but the size of his junk was two inches and he was only capable of having a soft erection but was still capable of making love. The annulment was affirmed but not because of his reason; it was annulled because of the refusal to comply with the marital obligations and because they had no spiritual intimacy as husband and wife.
29. What Goes Around, Comes Around
There was one case I studied in law school where out of spite during a divorce, a guy bought a junk car, registered it to his wife and parked it at long term airport parking.
Sometime after the divorce was settled, the wife suddenly gets hit with a bill for thousands and thousands of dollars from the airport for parking there for six months. He wound up paying it after she took him to court for it.
28. That’s What You Call Karma
I worked for a man years ago who was going through a divorce. He just started a small sales company which was doing quite well and earning him six figures a year. He also was dating again and his new girlfriend was his partner in this business. His ex-wife was really aggressive and trying to get as much money as she could from him. He took the advice of his lawyer and put all of his business in his girlfriend’s name and made himself an employee only making $12/hr so his ex-wife would get very little in alimony.
Fast forward a year and a half later after the divorce is through and he “won” the alimony battle; he breaks up with his girlfriend due to insecurity issues. She then turns around and fires him from his own company that he made. He couldn’t do anything since nothing was in his name anymore. The karma was amazing to watch unfold.
27. The Bills
A wife cheats on her husband during his frequent travels for work. She files for divorce and gets to keep the house. Months pass and the husband is still rightfully pissed but has no recourse. Then he has an epiphany: “I wonder if she changed the password to the Nest Thermostat?” She did not.
For the next year, he continues to mess with the thermostat. In the middle of summer when they’re sleeping in HIS bed, he turns the heat on to 90 degrees at 3 a.m. Middle of winter? Time to shut off the heat and hope the pipes freeze. Away on vacation? Turn the air conditioning down to 55 and let it run 24/7 for a nice surprise bill when they get home.
26. Chess Not Checkers
A man claims wife moved a new man into their home and got a restraining order as part of the agreement for the divorce proceedings. The man has to live in hotels, family member’s homes and access to his daughter is completely gone. The wife continues to antagonize the husband while he has to pay the mortgage in full and has the new boyfriend playing father to his daughter.
Eventually, the husband is fed up and shows up at their residence and gets his legal weapon from the home and tells the man to leave his house. The wife won at that very moment; there was the violation of the restraining order and possible criminal charges for the weapon. She got the house and custody of their daughter while also keeping the new boyfriend in the house while he has to continue paying for the mortgage as his wife didn’t work; she was a housewife. She was playing chess not checkers.
25. A Surprise Break Up
I’m not a divorce lawyer but a buddy of mine came back from deployment and all of his stuff was just packed into his car and his wife was waiting at the front door with her new husband.
When my buddy asked them what was going on, her wife told him “Yeah I found someone else sorry.” It was pretty bad; there was no warning. She even kept writing letters and pretending everything was okay up until he got home.
24. Crazy Cases
I had two crazy cases in my career so far. Case 1: A Honduran couple came in for divorce consult. I informed them I could only represent and advise one of them, and the wife called first, so I am representing her; the husband furiously storms out. Two days later, he hides in the bushes outside the house where she is staying. When she leaves to go to work, he jumps out and decapitates her with a machete. And there are two small kids in the house. Terrible.
Case 2: On the day of a divorce trial involving adultery grounds, opposing counsel produces photos of my male client (the husband) wearing lingerie and a long brown wig, kissing another dude. I successfully exclude this from evidence on the grounds of relevance because the wife was the photographer.
23. Death in Divorce
I wouldn’t recommend it, but one of the best ways to stick it to your ex and to skip most of the fallout is to die during the legal battle. In this case, the couple orally declared divorced, but before the official paperwork is finalized, the husband dies. So what does the court do?
Well, it takes the courts two years to sort out how this should be handled, and then the court says that the divorce proceedings must continue with somebody to represent the husband’s interests. So now, the wife has to divide everything 50/50 with a dead man. If he had died two weeks sooner, she would have avoided years of court hearings, thousands in legal fees, and kept everything for herself.
22. From Fifty Grand to Three, Real Quick
My good friend used to have this extremely expensive Eddie Van Halen signed Frankenstein guitar, worth about $50,000 and his divorced wife found out that he hid it.
Well, my friend’s wife found out sixteen years later and his divorce lawyer made him hand it over; she sold the guitar for $3,000.
21. No To Retirement
I’m not a lawyer, but I had a military guy I worked with voluntarily not get retirement paid for life just to screw his ex-wife. In the military, if you are married for ten years, the wife is entitled to half your retirement. So at 19 years, he left the service. If you reach 20 years and retire, you get 50% base pay for life. FOREVER.
Well, he decided he would rather not get that, just so his ex wouldn’t get her half. She was livid and called in a few times saying we had to force him to work one more year etc. He didn’t. He was always looking smug those final months though. He had another job lined up after the military and he’s doing fine.
20. The Ten-Year Revenge
I’m not a lawyer but worked in a law school and heard this one in a family law class. A couple was married for three years; the husband worked a decent job but wasn’t happy in it. He saw a gap in the market and wanted to go for it, but his wife said no. Things drifted apart and they separated. With no one to answer to, he goes for it and the company is a huge success.
Ten years later, divorce becomes legal in Ireland. She comes crawling out of the woodwork looking for blood; I think she ended up owning half the company she was so against in the first place. He had to buy her out to get it all back, costing him a fortune.
19. Long Term Scheming
A client and her ex-husband owned a successful renovation company. Marital issues happen and they decide to divorce. We look at the money that is in the banks, including the value of the company based on its past and the value of the house. They make an agreement that she gets the company and house; he walks away with the ready cash. And he takes off for a sunny place to start his life again.
It turns out the husband had been planning to leave her for a while. He stopped paying the vendors and the payroll taxes, which is where the money in the bank accounts originally came from. The company has been existing on credit for over six months while he emptied the bank accounts. Employee paychecks start bouncing within weeks of him leaving, so they quit. Jobs are not getting finished, so customers demand refunds. Within 12 months, she is looking for someone to buy the home in a short sale just to get enough cash to close out the payroll accounts before declaring bankruptcy.
18. Sometimes It’s Better To Just Stop
I used to be a paralegal, not a lawyer. I remember reading about one case. The parties had about 15 million dollars in assets, and the husband had owned about 90% of the assets going into the marriage. The courts wanted to award the wife about two million and give the husband the rest and the husband wanted to leave her destitute.
He ended up spending all of his money to fight at every step of the way by filing frivolous motions and just generally doing whatever he could to be a jerk. After attorney’s fees, penalties and costs, and money wasted on schemes, the total remaining assets the parties had were about $500k. The court awarded all of it to the wife and left him completely broke.
17. The 25% Entitlement
The husband has a very nice job. He’s a company exec, who makes six figures. The wife is upset that her lifestyle will have to change after they get a divorce. Her lawyer sets up a settlement where the wife is entitled to 25% of the husband’s income.
The kicker is that the lawyer did not specify which job or any specific amount, just a percentage. The husband knew he had enough in savings and assets that his income wouldn’t be a huge deal. So now, he happily works minimum wage at sports goods store and she gets a fourth of that.
16. He Drank the Money to Death
I used to be a secretary for a family law solicitor. We had this one divorce case where the wife was a teacher of 30+ years and had a very nice pension. In the divorce settlement, it was decided somehow that the pension would be considered a marital asset and the husband was entitled to 40%.
He wanted the money right away and so she had to cash in her pension so to speak and had to have a reduced amount. The husband ended up getting around $20,000. He was an alcoholic, wasted the money and drank himself to death within two years of receiving the money.
15. Well Played
The wife was caught cheating and was now looking for 10s of thousands of dollars of alimony plus child support. She gets a small fraction of what she wanted but takes revenge by asking their 8-year-old daughter to lie about how her father’s new girlfriend verbally abuses her. Now, the ex-husband’s new girlfriend is legally dragged into the child custody matter and has to stay away from the little girl, just to be legally safe.
A friend of the ex-husband then reveals that 8-year-old daughter is probably not his and there’s overwhelming evidence that suggests that. Since he loves his daughter and doesn’t want to add even more emotions into this mess, he doesn’t pursue a paternity test. The ex-wife drives a brand new car while she shares a one-bedroom apartment with her daughter as she brings boyfriends back home.
14. The Lost Mind
I worked at a law firm that was subpoenaed as part of a divorce between a partner at the firm and a partner at another major law firm. The woman issued more than 70 subpoenas to banks, firms, investment companies — you name it — because she was convinced he had squirreled away $20+ million overseas behind her back. It got so bad that she dug up receipts from 25 years ago to try to put together this grand conspiracy puzzle.
In the end, after she racked up $1.5 million in legal fees, and seven different lawyers, the judge said this crap is ridiculous — there was no conspiracy, and she was not entitled to a portion of this phantom $20 million. Mind you, this was a major law firm partner who was acting this way. She made millions per year in her career. But she apparently lost her mind.
13. It’s The Mechanic, Not The Shop
I’m not a lawyer, but my two bosses were married and opened a bike shop together. He was the brains and the backbone since he was a former Olympic mechanic; she just sort of balanced the checkbook and worked a couple of days a week. Unfortunately, he had no credit and she did, so when they opened, everything was in her name. All he wanted in the divorce was the bike shop and was willing to buy her half. She wanted the bike shop too but didn’t want to buy him out for his half.
He lost the bike shop and I think he got a little bit of money for his share. What she didn’t expect was that all of the high-paying customers would stop going there. They were all his friends or they only wanted him to work on their bikes, so I don’t know why she would have had that notion. So he opened up his own bike shop and all of the “regulars” have become regulars at his new bike shop.
12. What a Belt-lliant Idea
A former co-worker and his wife had split up. Among other things, she took all of his belts from the house.
He showed up for work with an ethernet cable tied around his waist because he didn’t have any belts. We worked an early shift, so there weren’t any stores open before he had to get to work.
11. A Heartbreaking One
I’m not a divorce lawyer, but my father built the house I grew up in with minimal help. He spent two years working on it and did the hardwood floors, staircase, bathrooms, and hung every cabinet by himself. Every piece of trim in the house was run through a lathe with his own two hands. He even did the spackling for all the ceilings and all of the paintwork.
Then my mom cheated on him for a year and bought him out of the house. Now, my mom and step-dad have a pretty sweet place to live, and I can tell it hurts my dad whenever he has to go by to pick up my sister and stand in the entryway of the house that he built and watch their fat dog scratch up the hardwood that he was so proud of.
10. Marriage is Unfair Sometimes
I had a guy whose wife cheated on him, took the kids and served him with papers. At court, the woman then said she needed the house so the kids would have a place to live and the guy willingly agreed. She put some storage related stuff in the house and moves herself and the kids into her boyfriend’s house.
The guy starts really struggling financially so he asks the court if he can move back into the house while his wife lives with her boyfriend. The wife says no, so the court says no. He spends a cold winter “breaking” into his own un-heated garage to sleep. The house was bought solely by him before the marriage even started. He got half the proceeds of the sale after the post-nuptials and was finally able to get himself a place. Marriage contracts are terrible for people to sign. Cohabitate if you must where there is no common law marriage.
9. The Poor Flowers
A husband and a wife were having a very acrimonious separation. If I remember correctly, he was very successful, and she was going after him for an immense amount of money.
She happened to be a multi-prize winning gardener. We’re talking about an absolutely exceptional collection of rare and gorgeous flowers, shrubs, the works. After an unsatisfactory development in their divorce proceedings, she came home to find that her husband had ridden their lawn mower over her entire garden, shredding every last stem and leaf into bits.
8. He’s A Pure Evil
My high school sent me to a law school camp going into my senior year and a mock divorce case turned out to be real. The wife was dying of terminal cancer and wanted to ensure that her money would be left for their children.
The husband knocked up his girlfriend and wanted all the money for that kid instead. He kept changing lawyers, which delayed the proceedings until she died and he got everything. It’s been four years and that still messes with me.
7. The Precious Pots and Pans
The assets must be split as close to 50/50 as possible. So the screwing over generally comes in the form of inequitable distribution of one-of-a-kind things. The husband had a precious set of old, inexpensive kitchenware that his late mother gave him before he even married my mother.
When the divorce went to mediation and wife told the mediator that she wanted those pots and pans; she got them. She got them because she was willing to give up something else of equal monetary value (so, something worth less than $10), and was willing to sit in mediation for hours, racking up thousands in lawyer fees for both sides, until the husband consented. Again, an even financial trade, but a sentimental trade of overwhelming disparity. Just as a final “screw you.”
6. Stubborn Ol’ Dad
My dad and my sister got into a physical fight which led to a CPS report and him getting slapped with a child abuse record. In this case, my mom was obviously going to get full custody of my sister. My mom also wanted to give my dad the house, and his cars, and his money pit of a boat.
The lawyer decided, because my dad is stubborn, that he would string my dad along. The lawyer spent hours with my dad trying to convince him that he could get more money and custody from my mom. They did a divorce mediation, and the lawyer dragged it out for four hours. The whole time he was riling my dad up, thinking he could get things like the original down payment on the house, half custody of my sister, my mom’s car, etc. At the end of the four hours of mediation, the lawyer told my dad he should take the deal that my mom and her lawyer had originally offered in the first place, and my dad signed that. He had to pay about $12,000 in completely unnecessary legal fees.
5. The Great Backfire
I’m not a lawyer, but I witnessed the failure of my mom’s 3rd marriage. Both my mom and stepdad were very stubborn. However, my mom has the propensity for blaming everything on outside forces. She is never really accountable for anything she does or says. The divorce was proceeding and my mom told me she was going to go for spousal support. Since I was doing their taxes at the time, I told her that IT was a bad idea because her previous W-2 showed that she made (slightly) more money. She went on this rant about how she deserves to live the same life and she deserves the support. It was still a bad idea.
Well, the day in court comes and she loses. Not only does she lose her claim for spousal support, but my step-dad countersued and won. After one month, he canceled the support. To this day, my mom says that my step-dad is a jerk for going after spousal support.
4. The Forgery
I am not a lawyer, but I was an intern at an engineering firm when the following happened. A coworker was deported during a divorce when it was found he forged his wife’s signature on an official document. It was part of a large number of documents signed when he was filing after marrying an American citizen. There were four lines on the page that his wife had signed, but apparently, she neglected to sign one and thinking nothing of it, he signed the missing line.
This was discovered by the wife’s attorney while reviewing documents for the divorce filing. He ended up being deported, and the company had some trouble trying to get him a work permit to come back. He was a degreed and licensed engineer, and last I heard before my internship ended he was working on a coffee plantation in Colombia.
3. All For The Glasses and Pitchfork
I’ve been a divorce lawyer for 20 years and I’ve seen it all. I once represented a husband divorcing his wife of 35+ years; they were in their late 60s. At mediation, they divided up about a half million in assets within 30 minutes. Then they spent 2.5 hours fighting over two hurricane glasses from Pat O’Brien’s and a pitchfork.
Mediator: “She really wants that pitchfork. It was a gift from her daddy.” Husband: “That fool! We bought it at Home Depot two years ago!” and it went on like that for a while. They settled at mediation after spending over $1,000 in attorney fees combined for the glasses and pitchfork. They remarried three months later.
2. Missing Blu-Rays
My ex-wife gave me all my Blu-Rays back, which was nice. A year later, I realized she had removed one disc from each of the trilogy box sets.
When someone refers to “the trilogies,” it’s obviously Star Wars or Indiana Jones. I wasn’t even that mad. I shook my head, smiled, and then remembered who I was dealing with. It was so clever, I had to respect it.
1. Strange Rage
I’m a lawyer. There was this client of mine who wanted a divorce but his wife trying to drag things out just to stick it to him. There wasn’t any cheating, abuse or anything of sorts. He just wasn’t in love with her anymore and they argued about meaningless things that made him want the divorce. They didn’t have any children. After some time we filed for divorce she called him and told him that she wanted to meet and would accept the divorce, just wanted to see him one last time. He told me about it and I told him to meet her, thinking that can save us from a lengthy case.
After, I learned that she asked him to come to her house and have dinner, but something happened at that dinner. To this day, I don’t know what; he never told me, even during the criminal case. At the dinner, he loses it and hurt her and then going to the police to turn himself in. I knew him before the case because he was a family friend, but after that night he was a very different man. His eyes were blank and he never talked about it, not even at the court. I asked for a psychological evaluation of his faculties, but it came back normal. I sometimes still wonder what made him lose it that much.