Divorce is a messy process for all those involved, even for the lawyers handling the case. These individuals are suddenly thrust into complex situations and are expected to remain professional about all the 'he said’s' and 'she said’s' thrown around the courtroom. It’s all in a day’s work but it also results in some stories that shouldn’t really be recounted, but are just too juicy not to share.

In a viral Reddit thread, one user asked lawyers about the most memorable moments in their careers. Answering anonymously and without divulging too much detail, they’ve shared the ones that stood out most and Bored Panda has collected the cream of the crop.

We’ve called our witnesses to the stand to present their sides of the story. From the most ridiculous ones and stuff that you would never believe, judge them for yourself and cast your vote as the jury for the best.

#1

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers 20+ year divorce lawyer here. 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 2 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...B***H! We bought it at Home Depot two years ago!" ...and etc.

They settled at mediation after spending over $1,000 in attorney fees combined for the glasses and pitchfork.

They remarried 3 months later.

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Hermione
Community Member
11 months ago

So their marriage was actually fine except for the hurricane glasses and pitchfork that they had to sort out. Expensive way to sort it.

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Bored Panda spoke to one of the top divorce lawyers in the United States—James J. Sexton, Esq. Described by former clients as a “courtroom gunslinger” and “the sociopath you want on your side”, his expertise in the law is matched only by his counsel for relationship advice. 

His best-selling book If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late recounts the cases he’s handled and offers unique insights into how married couples can maintain their relationships before they end up in his office as a client. Though he deals constantly with the heartbreak of others, he still believes in romance and the transformative power of love.

In our interview, I asked if James could share a courtroom story or some relationship advice to our readers. Understandably, he said, “Sorry, I would be doing you (and my publisher) a disservice to try to summarize that in a few sentences. I wrote a whole book on it!” So, you should get a copy for yourself if you want to know more.

#2

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Colleague handled a case where money was not an issue but the kids were. Neither parent wanted them.

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Draco's Dragonfly
Community Member
11 months ago

No... Poor kids

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#3

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers One of our clients thought his wife was having an affair. She would actually just go driving around for hours of the night playing Pokémon Go.
They still got divorced.

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Otter
Community Member
11 months ago

She was better off with the Pokémon game.

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Becoming a lawyer requires one of the longest processes to become qualified. It typically takes seven years to complete and even then, you still have to prove your mettle. I asked James about his experience in first becoming a lawyer and he told Bored Panda, “I loved it since the day I started. First, I was a psychology major, then, I got my M.A. and was working on my PhD in cultural anthropology.”

But like a lot of young people going through their studies, he set his sights onto a new path after discovering what he enjoyed most and where his strengths lay. “I realized my skills at debate and extemporaneous speaking could help more people as a divorce lawyer than as a professor, so I went to law school. I hated law school but I've loved every day of being a divorce lawyer for the last 20 years. It's the best job ever in my opinion, at least for me.”

#4

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Paralegal. A couple got divorced over a cat. Wife called cat Snowball because of white fur and only wanted the cat to eat wet food or chicken breast. Husband called cat Lily again because of white fur and believed it should only eat dry food. These two argued for a year over custody of the cat but did not give a s**t about their human kids aged 15 months, 4 years, and 6 years old.

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Hermione
Community Member
11 months ago

I’m thinking there were deeper issues here??? Just a guess. Could be wrong.

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#5

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Friend of mine divorced his then wife because she would only speak French when her family would come over. She was Spanish, as was her family....

To add, her family spoke English, French and Spanish, he could only speak Spanish and English, she got bored of being married to him, her family basically talked s**t about him whilst he was there, was only when he recorded a conversation whilst they where there and got it translated he found out what was going on.

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago

Seems like a good reason for divorce.

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In James’ experience, the role of a divorce lawyer can be defined in different ways, depending on how you look at it. James said, “The ‘public’ answer would be to assist our clients in identifying the legal issues presented in their case, help them understand their rights and obligations under applicable law, and thereafter help them figure out what they ‘want’ in the divorce.”

“This is usually informed by what they're entitled to, as there can be almost no limits to what someone might ‘want’ and, thus, it's nice to have it tethered to what they might reasonably expect to accomplish.”

#6

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I worked as a paralegal for a divorce lawyer. Case analysis was one of my main responsibilities.

I s**t you not.

A recently married couple (of 2 years) broke it off because the husband would not stop feeding the dog. The dog got outrageously fat.

Apparently she saw connection between the dog and future children

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Yvonne Dauwalder Balsiger
Community Member
11 months ago

Well done divorcing that nutcase... Have pets and kids with someone who shows some responsibility and care

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#7

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Not me, but a friend my mum has divorced her husband because his mother still coddled him at age 40, with his consent. They lived with his mother (common in Asia).

By coddle I mean that she would walk straight into their room after his shower and powder his back for him.

They couldn’t lock their bedroom door because his mother would come in as and when she wanted. If they locked the door, she would knock repeatedly asking what they were doing.

Lol what would they be possibly doing??? Playing poker???

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Draco's Dragonfly
Community Member
11 months ago

Damn...

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"In reality," James explains, "much of our job is to protect clients from themselves. We have to see their case objectively: from both their 'side' and from that of their spouse (or, their spouse's counsel, who I always imagine is a smarter and harder-working version of myself, just to be safe and keep me sharp)."

"We help them identify what's an emotional issue and what's a legal issue. To help them understand that, ultimately, getting divorced is fairly awful, but a post-divorce life can be fulfilling. More so if you don't set fire to everything you have in an attempt to 'hurt' the other side for hurting you."

#8

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Had a husband and wife go toe to toe over an ashtray they got in Vegas at some point (neither smoked strangely enough). Spent nearly $5,000 for me an another attorney to duke it out in court over the silly thing. Prior to proceeding, I explained what the cost would be for to argue over something silly like this 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!

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KJ
Community Member
11 months ago

Pathetic.

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#9

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Took the couple two hours to decide who would get the groceries left in the fridge. Estimated value of the groceries was around $40. Two hours of my time, opposing counsel time, and mediator time added up to about $1,000. It all came down to a Costco/Sam's Club sized jar of peanut butter. (Who keeps peanut butter in the fridge?!)

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Laura Jones
Community Member
11 months ago

strange things they argue over

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Being a divorce lawyer (or any lawyer, for that matter) forces you to think pragmatically. James explained more about the work and the need to distance yourself occasionally. He said, "We try to think strategically and dispassionately about the incredibly important issues our clients trust us with. And most of our time is spent arguing with our own client who, ultimately, is paying us an exorbitant amount of money to facilitate the divorce process that feels like the most awful experience ever to them."

James continued about the many hard roles he takes on, but it's all worth it to him. He explained further, "We tell people things they don't want to hear but often need to hear. We wake up thinking about them and go to bed thinking about them. We, much of the time, are attempting to do the impossible for the ungrateful. That being said: I love my job."

#10

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I'm not a divorce lawyer, but when I was at a mediation a few months ago, the mediator was telling me about a divorce he mediated a few years back. It was your classic "rich guy is sick of his wife and kids, and wants a divorce to run off with a young, hot piece of ass."

His wife wanted blood. She came to the mediation with some pretty outrageous demands about the money and property she'd receive. The mediator pushed hard throughout a long day of mediation, but she hadn't budged an inch. Finally, very late in the day, the husband threw up his hands and said, 'f**k it--give her everything she's asking for and let's be done with it.'

The mediator went back to the wife's conference room to share the good news that the husband had caved in, and she FLIPPED THE F**K OUT, glowing incandescent with rage at the idea that her husband was willing to pay truly insane compensation to be done with her and ride off with his little girlfriend.

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blugeagua
Community Member
11 months ago

He's still a douchebag for wanting to leave his wife and kids for a younger woman.

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#11

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers A 46-year marriage ended because his old high school girlfriend was single again. I later learned that the guy married the old girlfriend the same day his divorce was finalized

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago

Poor wife, to know she was always "Plan B" for 46 years

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He explained further and used a metaphor to describe his daily work: "Every divorce is a multivariate equation. It's a chess match with real-life consequences. All divorce lawyers, like all chess players, know the same 'moves' and are simultaneously attempting to 'attack' and 'defend'."

"The best of us see 5-10 moves ahead. The worst of us are like our clients, who usually just see the most obvious move on the board and want to 'win' whatever 'piece' can be taken at that moment—even if it walks us right into the other side's checkmate."

But it's all in days work for James and many of the other lawyers who have shared their stories here. When all is fair in love and war, it takes someone with both knowledge of the law as well as a human touch to ensure that divorce issues can be resolved successfully.

#12

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers worked as courtroom clerk/front desk when i was in college, a couple argued on the custody details on their son, i thought it was the normal "i wont let you see him you piece of s**t", but the mom wants the dad to spend more time during holidays together - all 3 of them, and the dad wants to do the same, just more frequently. they ended up reconciled and agreed to couples therapy before the divorce procedure went further. then they came back a month later to withdraw the divorce proceeding.

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IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
11 months ago

It'good to talk.

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#13

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Had a client whose soon-to-be-ex-husband used her email address and phone number to sign her up for every bank, loan, religious, mental illness site he could think of. She was bombarded by people contacting her about her interest in their product/services.

He even put out ads for sex partners on Craigslist with her information. The kicker is that she actually went out with a guy who contacted her!

If I learned anything being a divorce attorney (I no longer practice), it was that if the opposing party sounded like a nutcase, I would soon see the nutcase come out of my own client. Normal people don't just accidentally marry crazies (not often)!

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Hannah Edwards
Community Member
11 months ago

That’s clearly domestic abuse, she should have had him arrested

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#14

On the day of a divorce trial involving adultery grounds, the opposing counsel produces photos of my client (the husband) wearing lingerie and a long brown wig. In the photo, he's blowing another dude.
I successfully exclude this from evidence on the grounds of relevance because the wife was the photographer.

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James016
Community Member
11 months ago

The truth really is stranger than fiction

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#15

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I was involved in a case where a lady was pursuing a case for 'unreasonable behavior.' Her then-husband would stand at the foot of the bed, drop his pants, then bend over to step out of them, sit on the bed, then slide up when going to bed. She had noticed that after a couple of days, brown streaks would appear.

When she showed her husband 'the evidence,’ he stated, 'Those are scorch marks from ironing!' She proceeded to remove said scorch marks with a damp cloth, saying, 'Scorch marks do not wipe off!' This brought some laughter in the court, especially when the gentleman admitted that he used only a small amount of toilet paper because his 'poo was always hard and never runny

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago

Gross

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#16

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers We once had a case where the husband and wife decided to start having a threesome with their friend. Then they both fell in love with her and started sleeping with her separately behind each other’s backs.
"The whole thing blew up when the husband got her pregnant."

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Devil's Advocate
Community Member
11 months ago

Surely you'd just be honest and have a three-way relationship over lying and cheating?

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#17

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Not me but my friend who specialises in family law. Wife wanted to divorce husband because he kept taking their dogs for walks while she was at work, making it (unintentionally) so they’d rather cuddle the husband instead of her after a long day.

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Someone was deeply insecure. She should have been happy to have a husband walk the pets so she didn't have to

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#18

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers My client had a son named Snoop Frog and neither parent wanted custody.

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago

Oof. Poor kid. That name alone should be child abuse.

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#19

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I knew a guy from a high school job who divorced his wife of 2 months because she would sleep with a nightlight but he could only sleep in total darkness, as they apparently never lived together until after getting married. He hated her nightlight so much that he would often sleep on the couch instead, but sometimes he would claim the bed for himself and lock her out of the bedroom for the night.

This was an eccentric late 40s man working at a burger king who acted like all the other high school coworkers were his best chums, and often told us these weird stories. I'm glad I don't work with him anymore.

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago

Separate bedrooms never occurred to anyone? Locking her out of the bedroom is very juvenile, though it sounds like this guy had issues anyway

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#20

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers My dad was a divorce lawyer. He had a client who wanted to divorce her husband for 2 reasons:

He did not have enough hair on his chest.

He did not drive fast enough.

Keep in mind this was in the 70's when chest hair was a bit more important.

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Hermione
Community Member
11 months ago

And she didn’t check if he exhibited those very important traits before she married him?

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#21

Divorce lawyer here. One client filed for divorce because he owed his bookie $70,000. He didn't want to leave his wife but he figured he would get half the house in the divorce, which was worth $700,000 and pay his debts. He had already blew through their life savings gambling. He was the worst guy.

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Alethia Nyx
Community Member
11 months ago

Sounds like she was well to be rid of him and protect her own financial future.

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#22

At my last firm, a couple did their will with our firm. They were married 40 years total, divorced, and remarried once. The husband wanted us to put in his will that his kids get his entire estate but did not want us to tell his wife. He wanted to make a secret will and a fake will. The phony will would be signed with her present, and then it would be shredded. He would later come in to sign the 'real will.' He copied his wife on the email that had all of this information disclosed in it.
Two weeks later, he called us and said he wanted to file for divorce instead

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CultOfBambi
Community Member
11 months ago

*facepalm*

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#23

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Taught the parakeet certain cuss words for his wife. Hahaha. The parrot lives with the man now.

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Ancsuri
Community Member
11 months ago

He just made sure he would get the parrot

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#24

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers My mom is a family law lawyer, and she told me that a man divorced his wife after she broke her jaw in a car accident because she could no longer give head

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Helen Haley
Community Member
11 months ago

Way better off without him.

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#25

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Was a loud chewer at the dinner table. He developed a complex & literally needed out as he couldn't bear to eat with her.

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Lovin' Life
Community Member
11 months ago

I can relate to that. Not sure if it's worthy of divorce but man I cant stand to hear someone smacking their lips

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#26

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I worked for a law firm while in college and we had a client who had just come home from a two week vacation with his wife only to be served with divorce papers and a temporary restraining order as soon as they pulled in the driveway. Wife didn't say a word and just went into their house. Poor guy came straight to our office and was massively confused, to say the least.

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Lovin' Life
Community Member
11 months ago

Damn!

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#27

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers Not a lawyer, but as a courthouse clerk, I had a court order come across my desk that explicitly banned a father from playing Minecraft with his son over the internet because the ex-wife alleged that the in game chat was a form of improper contact that wasn't outlined in their custody/visitation plan.

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Magrata Cesnekova
Community Member
11 months ago

I feel really really sorry for the kid here :(

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#28

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I worked in a law firm, and we had a divorce case where the husband and wife were first cousins. They knew each other their whole lives and married late in life to each other. He then cheated on her with his stepdaughter from his first marriage

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Jeremy Arnott
Community Member
11 months ago

Anybody else hearing banjos?

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#29

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers My father did divorce law for many years.

We were in Virginia Beach for a tournament I was in with a friend of mine and his father. This is back around 07

My dad got a call from a forensic accountant he hired to track down some accounts his client knew her husband stashed money in. He was asked to pull over and to put him on speaker because he would not believe what he was about to tell him. The accountant traced all of his money to 3 bank accounts totaling over $300 million in another country.

My friend's father screamed, my father dropped his phone and there were numerous "WTF!!!" From the back seat.

My father's client made out with 2 of the 3 accounts and they walked away silently. He was paid in full, given a small bonus and has never heard from her again.

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Jo Johannsen
Community Member
11 months ago

This is confusing.

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#30

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers The husband's statement of property listed all the food in the kitchen as of the date of separation, complete with estimated values for each item. ("Campbell's vegetable soup - $0.79")

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Hermione
Community Member
11 months ago

I can see why she’d want out.

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#31

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I work for a mortgage company and occasionally we have to review divorce decrees if someone is divorcing to remove a spouses name from the loan. There is a notorious case known around my pretty large department as the " cat divorce decree" account. In this divorce decree, there is a 5 page addendum specifically regarding Mittens and Buttons Johnson (names changed for their protection). Memorable clauses included: mandatory 10 minute Skype sessions weekly, no unsupervised play dates with children under 15, and that their claws be trimmed every 3 days.

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Cori
Community Member
11 months ago

If Angela from 'The Office' ever got divorced.

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#32

Lawyer here. One of mine that sticks out is that the husband and wife both played some sort of on-line role-playing game, sort of like the Sims I think but a little more elaborate and adult ('Second Life' maybe?). I don't know anything about online games.

The wife got heavily involved with the game, like 10 hours a day, and wouldn't reduce her time playing no matter what he said. What tipped things over the edge however was that he set up a fake profile/ avatar and went online to stalk her in the game and found her avatar having sex with some random guy's avatar.

Nothing ever happened in real life (neither of them were exactly oil paintings to look at) but that was enough for the guy to initiate a fairy acrimonious divorce.

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Hannah Edwards
Community Member
11 months ago

Anyone playing a game for ten hours a day surely has a problem facing reality and is maybe using the game to cope with stress or depression

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#33

Husband and wife still living together at the time had a small confrontation. The husband pulls a "sphincter says what" on her and she takes the bait and says "what." He giggled like a little kid. She then told her lawyer who had to talk to his lawyer. His lawyer asked him if he called his wife a sphincter and told him hes not allowed to call her that anymore.

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Nikki Sevven
Community Member
11 months ago

Him: "Sphincter says what?" — Me: *says something incomprehensible* — Him: "What?" — Me: *giggles like a little kid*

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#34

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers My first trial. My client was being sued for a divorce on grounds of habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. Her husband alleged that she grabbed his d**k really hard and hurt it. He alleged it was on purpose. I had to cross examine him about it.

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Samantha Lomb
Community Member
11 months ago

I imagine it was embarrassing for him too, so it had to be a serious issue for him to press it

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#35

35 Divorce Lawyers Are Sharing The Most Ridiculous Cases In Their Careers I once represented a client from a divorcing couple who still lived together pending the sale of the family home but would not speak to one another for any reason whatsoever. Had to negotiate terms with opposing counsel for the sharing of refrigerator space.

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Laura Jones
Community Member
11 months ago

hope that there were no kids involved that is so pathetic

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