Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I spend many words writing about soon-to-be ex-spouses working together for a common good: the  peaceful dissolution of their marriage.  On these pages I've often advocated moving beyond the emotional entanglements that routinely accompany a marital break up but so very much obstruct a mature approach to custody arrangements, potential support and property division.  But I don't think I've spent much time dwelling on the most reprehensible spouses, the horrid, worst case scenario, the monster who shares your bed but rises each morning from the pits of hell.  In other words, the wicked spouse.

I don't mean the angry spouse, the "hell hath no fury" spouse who seeks retribution for a past mis-deed.  I'm talking about the evil spouse who wants to see you perish for the sheer delight of your demise.  If you don't know this spouse, consider yourself among the extremely fortunate.  You can somewhat imagine them, but only somewhat, for imagination is no substitute to living in the same house, supping over the same table and sharing the same bed with someone who daily, even hourly determinedly seeks your downfall. And the more horrific your downfall, the better.

This spouse has a strategy that is more depraved than you can reasonably contemplate, for reason doesn't enter into it.  To understand this spouse's battle plan, you have to enter into the most cynical, black hearted space you can find within humankind's collective unconscious.  This is the spouse who will summon the police with concocted stories of abuse.  This is the spouse who will lay a trap for the unwary.  This is the spouse who will lie in wait sometimes for years to build the abattoir in which you shall be sacrificed.  This is the spouse who, like an onion, has layers upon layers, each more vile, fetid and diabolical than the last.

But, for those of you who have no knowledge of such a spouse, you need some meat on these bones.

Consider the spouse who decided one day to divorce her husband, only she didn't tell him.  She didn't tell him for over a year.  She used that year to collect her evidence of his purported transgressions.  Behaviors she  condoned, accepted, fostered, and even participate in, she secretly captured for posterity in those thousand words' worth 8x10's.  And when she sprung the trap, she had her price.  She would offer to sell him his soul for far more than 30 pieces of silver.

Consider the spouse who systematically deprived her spouse of his business, his home, even his children, Job style, just to watch him suffer like an ant under the magnifying glass in the brilliant sun of her conniving scheme.  As each element of his security, his identity was stripped from him, she pleasured in his cries every much as if limbs were torn asunder.  She would have watched him slowly die if she could figure out how to do it. In may ways, she did.

Consider the spouse who fathomed and then executed a plan to have her spouse carted off to jail, to be convicted and not seen again for decades, well long enough for her to secure the empire they had created.  And his crime and the evidence to support it fabricated, every bit of it.

The judges are wary of any counsel's claim that the spouse is wicked, that the plot is hollow, that the method is the worst sort of chicanery because that charge is so abused.  I've written about the aggressive lawyer. To her ever droning assertion, each opposing party is a scalawag, either a dead-beat dad or a malicious mom. We once had a well known counsel who had two, pat phrases to apply to opposing parties: whore and whore monger.  The slanderous approach is now an empty rhetorical device which the judge's largely ignore.  So when a spouse is indeed wicked it is a difficult fact to prove to a jaded judge.

But prove it you must.  Prove it to someone.  In the first case cited, It wasn't until I took to the Settlement Conference table top and delivered a rousing rendition of "Molasses to Rum to Slaves," that the matter resolved.  My client was freed without the purchase price demanded by the wicked spouse.  She decided that I was too crazy to allow in Court.

The second case ended with a trial which detailed copious evidence of her mis-deeds.  You would have thought the matter had been tried in the World Court for the effort it took, the investigation required, the meticulous organization and crafting of the presentation of the trial.  Years later and tens of thousands of dollars poorer, justice prevailed.  The wicked spouse was sent out on a rail.

The last case cited ended in a surprising reversal of fortunes because, ultimately, criminals are not that smart.  Indeed a crime had been committed, but my client hadn't done it.  The wicked spouse left enough "fingerprints" on the evidence intended to damn her husband, that the prosecuting authorities began to see the flaws in the greater plan, turned the tables and indicted the master-mind wife.

Given the elaborate means to which these wicked spouses go, I often wonder why they don't cut to the chase and end the relationship Lynn Turner style.  But of course, she got caught too.

So divorce is not a bed of roses.  Sometimes it is a bed of nails.  And if you are married to the wicked spouse, sometimes you have to fight for your freedom.  Sometimes you even have to fight for your survival.  Just know that justice will out, in the end, if you can make it that far.

Cheery post, huh.

Michael Manely

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