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Post-divorce behaviour: the petty, the expensive and the dangerous

Divorce is a fraught time. Although amicable splits do happen, the decision to bring a marriage to an end can be the result of arguments and spiteful actions on both sides. Divorce lawyers see this all the time. It comes with the territory.

But what are the wildest or most unusual lengths divorcing couples go to in order to “get even”? A recent post on discussion site Reddit asked that very question and, as you might expect, the responses were far removed from the stereotypical throwing a partner’s clothes out of the window.

One user told the story of their mother doing everything she could to make life difficult for her husband during divorce proceedings. He had been ordered to pay the mortgage and bills on the house his soon-to-be ex-wife was living in. Apparently, she “would leave all the lights on and crank the heat with the widows open just to drive the utility bills up” and on one occasion “left the garden hose on for a week into a drain” in order to increase the water bill.

Another unfortunate soul did not realise what had happened to him right away. His ex-wife returned all of his blu-rays to him, which he thought was a nice gesture. It was only later that he discovered that, among the trilogy box-sets he owned, one film was missing from each of them. It may not be the most serious story on the thread, but it is still remarkably petty.

Husbands can be just as spiteful though. One user told the story of a wealthy couple going through a divorce. Both spouses had their eyes on a particular car and each fought to keep it. After much negotiation, the husband eventually conceded the vehicle “in exchange for something great, like one of their summer houses”. After the agreement was made, however, it turned out that he “had been driving the car for 3 hours everyday [sic] in a big loop around the city, putting thousands and thousands of miles on it basically making it worthless”.

Another couple had been separated for nearly ten years before they eventually made their divorce official but it was obviously not long enough for the husband to get over his anger. His wife was expected to get the house in the settlement “so he burnt it down then faxed her the transfer of ownership forms”. Perhaps not the best of ideas though, as the user who posted the story added that the husband now “might be going to jail for arson”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Paul says:

    Both parties need counciling at a dificult time like this. In the future when our mental and emotional well being is valued as much as our physical health I can see a time when counciling is manditory during break up situations. Both parties need to find acceptance before you can expect them to be amicable or reach a reasonable break up settlement. Soliciters don’t help. They encourge one up manship. Or getting one over your expartner.

  2. D says:

    Who has three hours a day spare to spend driving in a circle? That’s the ridiculously part and shows the type of people involved. If he liked driving the car then great, he had some fun. If, as I imagine it was a high value car, it wouldn’t be worthless, just devalued somewhat. If the partner really wanted the car and not the value of it, it wouldn’t matter that much. But to be able to spend 3 hours a day just to do this… if he didn’t enjoy driving it, it shows some people are just a waste of oxygen and resources.

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