8 divorce horror stories from the people who have been through it — and their lawyers

fizkes/ShutterstockDivorce rates are increasing among younger groups.
  • Divorce can be a difficult process, no matter how amicable your separation may be.
  • According to the US Census Bureau, divorce rates are on the rise among adults 50 and older, roughly doubling since the 1990s.
  • Here are eight of the worst divorce horror stories from both clients and lawyers.

Divorce is never easy, and among certain age groups, divorce rates are increasing. For instance, since the 1990s,the divorce rate has doubledamong adults 50 years old and up, according to 2015 statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics and US Census Bureau, the Pew Research Center reported.

Of course, some divorces go better than others – while some are amicable, others are the opposite.

Toni Coleman, apsychotherapist and relationship coach, said that divorce may not always go as well as planned. “People often underestimate the potential stress and fallout that they will face when they decide to divorce,” she told Business Insider.

“Too often, they assume their partner will be reasonable and will want to work together in order to minimise the emotional and financial toll on themselves and any children they may share.”

But that isn’t always the case.Here, eight people share their divorce horror stories.


He scammed me.

ESB Professional/ShutterstockI wasn’t the only one he scammed.

“In our less than seven-month marriage, my then-husband schemed and scammed between $US60,000-100,000 from me. In the almost year-long courtship, he groomed me.

“I’m about the fifth or sixth person he’s scammed, and I got out pretty quickly – but I’m in so much debt because of him. I’m trying to save my credit and make payments while hoping I’ll recoup some or any of mymoneythrough the legal system.”

– Anonymous, 39, submitted with permission
by Joseph A. Davis of


Fit Divorce Planning


He committed fraud.

atalie Behring/WCPV via Getty ImagesWe investigated and found that he lied and committed fraud.

“In this case, the parties’ divorce was ongoing for several years. Lawyers working for both parties were engaged in valuing the marital estate, which included substantial debt. At primary issue, the valuation of the husband’s business, a printing and advertising company. The company was (allegedly) in the cellar, barely scraping by, and under significant debt. The warehouse had, literally, been flooded by recent rainstorms. “As a result of all of these events, the wife’s attorneys (not us!) and the wife, upon the recommendation of the forensic accountant that had been appointed by the court to perform valuation issues and forensic work, agreed that the value of the business was minimal, at best. A settlement agreement was signed with wife waiving her rights to the business for just a minimal payout (which was to be paid out to her over five years).”Fast forward 363 days after the divorce: Wife learns that not only had husband sold his business shortly after the parties’ divorce, but that he was even hired by the company to run their new division! She came and hired us, with two days to go to reopen the divorce case (which has a one-year look back) on the basis of the husband’s fraud.

“After working around the clock, we filed an application with the court, which was granted, compelling the husband to provide the details about the sale. What was found was unbelievable: the husband had sold the business literally the same day that he had signed the settlement agreement and the parties’ were divorced!

“He had lied to his lawyer, lied to the forensic accountant, and lied to the court. Suffice it to say, months and months of litigation ensued, ultimately culminating in the wife’s receipt of a substantial additional settlement. Lesson to be learned: Investigation is key.”



Karolina Dehnhard

, divorce attorney


I took on excessive legal costs.

Tyshchenko Photography/ShutterstockThe legal costs were high.

“In 2009, I remarried. There had been years when my wife’s ex-husband legally and financially bullied her asa single mother.

“However, I never imagined that nine years later, my total legal costs would exceed $US60,000 because of her ex-husband’s harassing lawsuits and non-compliance with court orders. I ended up writing an eBook about it, ‘Dispute It – A Layman’s Guide on How to Get an Attorney Refund & File a Bar Grievance.'”

-Kenneth R. Gilley
, 53


She filed a restraining order against me.

Photographee.eu/ShutterstockI was arrested and charged with the felony of violating a restraining order.

“I came home from work not knowing there was a restraining order against me – the lock had been changed and I was trying to get into my house. My then-wife had called the police in advance: I was arrested within minutes and charged with the felony of violating a restraining order.

“Her lawyer had told her to do that because if she were going against a felon, she would be guaranteed to get full custody of the kids, as well as the child support money that went along with it. Shortly after I lost in court because of the felony, the law in Tennessee (and other places) was changed so that a restraining order requires proof of danger and can’t just be sprung on someone as a trap.”

– Anonymous, 42, submitted with permission by Lee Wilson,My Ex Back Coach


He disappeared.

AndreyUG/ShutterstockHis initial cheating led to the divorce.

“There’d been some infidelity on my ex’s part, which led to the divorce. We went through a six-year separation without seeing each other, nor him seeing our son, who hasautism– which was another obstacle; the courts had to bring in an independent person on behalf of our son due to his special needs.

“Once my husband started publicly dating one of the people hecheatedon me with, that was the final straw. I went to the courthouse where we’d gotten married and filed, citing abandonment.

“To get a court date, I had to run an ad in the paper for 30 days. After another 30 days, I received my court date and they attempted to serve him, but since they couldn’t find him, they granted me mydivorce.”

– Kiedra, 33


He had a double life.

By Ditty_about_summer/ShutterstockHe had a girlfriend in France I knew nothing about.

“In this case, we represented an educated woman, a doctor, in a long-term marriage. The husband, a dual resident of both the United States and France, was working for a French investment bank, which necessitated constant travel overseas.

“As the trips grew longer, and the parties’credit card billsmounted, the wife was faced with not only her job obligations, but also with dealing with their two teenage children (both with psychological issues and one with an eating disorder).

“As the divorce case continued, the parties’ bank and credit card records were reviewed by a forensic accountant, as well as the wife’s divorce attorneys. What was found was astonishing (but not, necessarily, unsurprising); the husband had a second life in France, with a girlfriend who he was supporting in Europe, flying all over the continent, and spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on. At the same time, he was fighting our client over necessary medical treatment for their teenage daughter.

“The case ended with the wife, our client, receiving a six-figure credit from the husband’s share of the marital estate for his dissipation of marital assets, as well as compelling husband’s contributions to their daughters’ ongoing needs. Lesson to be learned: If something doesn’t feel right, it generally isn’t.”



Karolina Dehnhard

, divorce attorney


He was abusive and lied to me constantly.

TORWAISTUDIO/Shutterstock‘I’m divorcing a man with narcissistic personality disorder.’

“I’m divorcing a man withnarcissistic personality disorderwho has refused to get treatment for his condition. The turning point came after an episode of physical abuse; he sat down with our seven-year-old daughter afterwards and told her everything she had seen him do to me was my fault.

“Plus, he lies – from telling our court mediator thatIabusedhimto texting divorce details to my family and friends. He’s also trying to prove that our legal separation started years before I moved out so he can prevent me from getting any financial benefit from the sale of our house.”

– Mary Kate, 44


We’re fighting over an engagement ring.

Rawpixel.com/ShutterstockThey ultimately gave it to their daughter.

“I have a case currently being litigated where the engagement ring was being fought over. It belonged to Dad’s family, but he gave it to Mum, and Mum wanted to keep it for the parties’ daughter. We reached a compromise where Mum would keep it only for the daughter’s future use, but just as we were signing the documents, Dad’s attorney came in and asked: ‘What if the daughter doesn’t want to use it OR DIES?’

“My heart stopped. I was like, ‘Who cares what happens to a ring if your child is gone?’ But since the issue was raised, we had to address it. We decided that if the daughter didn’t want it or could not use it, it would be sold and the funds donated in her name to a non-profit.”

Penelope L. Hefner, Sodoma Law Union

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