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Worst. Divorce. Ever.
June 10, 2010 7:16 AM   Subscribe

A lawyer and her husband decide to get a divorce. Then, the lawyer loses her mind.
posted by reenum (131 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
interesting
posted by SMITHMag at 7:18 AM on June 10, 2010


Heavens to Murgatroyd was I happy when [SPOILER]she gave up her law license.[/SPOILER]
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:23 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then, the author, used commas to the point where it's ALL I COULD FOCUS ON.
posted by uaudio at 7:23 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


(sorry derail) does that site have geoid tags for hyper-local advertisement or is everyone else seeing ads for Big Top Chautauqua?

(I only ask because it is a little weird to see a former small employer's advertisement pop up like that)
posted by edgeways at 7:24 AM on June 10, 2010


Couldn't finish it. Those poor children.
posted by josher71 at 7:27 AM on June 10, 2010


Couldn't finish it. Those poor children.

Yeah, if the divorce was that protracted and demented, you can only imagine how she deals with conflict at home. Ungh.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:28 AM on June 10, 2010


The writer calls the article "The Worst Divorce Ever" but then mentions that "If the ferocity of a legal dispute can be measured in the amount of paperwork its parties generate, the Irelands' divorce isn't the nastiest in Johnson County's recent history."

Also, when all parties start acting crazy, can't the judge do something to help mitigate the crazy that goes on? As in, you can't file anything for 6 months. I mean, sheesh.

Also, the lawyer might have lost her mind later, but the husband tried to kill himself. Pretty sad.
posted by anniecat at 7:30 AM on June 10, 2010


Wow. A lawyer sued someone I know (over a stupid and wholly frivolous claim). The first filing was around 5 years ago and I think it's finally over, but not before costing the poor guy $20k at least in legal fees. All of the same things were present: stalling, appealing for new reasons, and making accusations against judges. Seems like this is par for the course for these kinds of abuses of law.

This is why people hate our "litigious society".
posted by Deathalicious at 7:32 AM on June 10, 2010


Skimmed the middle, also found it too horrifying. Wow, people can behave badly.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:32 AM on June 10, 2010


I know of a two different divorces in which one of the couple have been an attorney. Both got nasty, fast.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:34 AM on June 10, 2010


Crazyness. It's important to point out that the lawyer didn't participate in the story, so we don't hear 'her side'. But she does sound pretty nuts.
posted by delmoi at 7:34 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base Injustice thou hast done my Love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn'd;
Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.
posted by stbalbach at 7:34 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Single-page print version.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:40 AM on June 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Look at these assholes.
posted by Perplexity at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2010


My divorce cost a whole $300 between the two of us. She spent $200 to have a lawyer draw up an agreement, I paid $100 to have another lawyer review it. We both signed it and mailed it into the court. And we have a kid and owned a house together. I realize that you're getting a divorce for a reason but I've never understood why people have to be such dicks about it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:41 AM on June 10, 2010 [49 favorites]


I'm not seeing any excessive commas in the article.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:45 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's like people feel like this is their chance to punish you for the thing that caused you to break up. Kind of like how some people go on the internet and think "Hey, I'm anonymous, I can vent all my aggression and rage on other people because nobody knows who I am!" Then that person goes to get divorced and thinks "Hey, we're getting divorced, this is my chance to vent all my aggression and rage and drain every penny from that asshole!" It's wrong and does tremendous damage to the kids. You know, it's a legal proceeding, not paintball.
posted by amethysts at 7:46 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The disciplinary administrator of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys, Stanton Hazlett, determined last October that Kimberly violated the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct by making false accusations against a judge. Kimberly voluntarily relinquished her Kansas law license on March 1 of this year, pending a formal disciplinary hearing in Topeka, scheduled for September 9. A panel of three attorneys, appointed by Hazlett, will make its recommendation to the Kansas Supreme Court after the hearing. It may recommend disbarment.

This is what I was looking for -- it was in the second to last paragraph in the article.
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2010


My divorce cost a whole $300 between the two of us. She spent $200 to have a lawyer draw up an agreement, I paid $100 to have another lawyer review it. We both signed it and mailed it into the court. And we have a kid and owned a house together. I realize that you're getting a divorce for a reason but I've never understood why people have to be such dicks about it.

This might not be a deep answer, but I think it's accurate: some people are just plain dicks. It's a bit hard to map your mind to that, since you're not a dick and apparently your wife wasn't much of one either. And yet the dicks are out there, frolicking and gamboling in our fens, and some of them have, to a limited extent, a working knowledge of legal procedure.

The weirdest part is that her legal temper tantrums seemed to exist for their own sake. Why not just get a divorce and be done with it? She sounds like nothing more dignified than an ugly, common bully.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why oh why oh why aren't prenups legally required
posted by Damn That Television at 7:49 AM on June 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Irelands, at last, are free of each other.

I don't think so. They're still raising (those poor) kids together (maybe an fpp about how kids cope in high-conflict divorce situations would be better than this one?), and now she's lost her law license so you know she's going to file for an increase in support and he'll file an objection or whatever and on and on ...
posted by headnsouth at 7:50 AM on June 10, 2010


Reading that story literally made me sick to my stomach. Divorce is the worst.

Also: it sounds very much like any judge worth his salt shouldn't have let that woman within 50 yards of her children ever again. I hope Kevin was dealing meth on the side or something, if only to make that ruling seem reasonable.
posted by Poppa Bear at 7:50 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why oh why oh why aren't prenups legally required

That's the worst part of this; there was almost nothing to fight over. As it mention, the two had essentially no assets. The wife got the kids and stalled for an extremely long time in determining support. This was just fighting to fight. It's especially sad that both appeared to have behaved so badly that the judge couldn't assign blame for the legal fees. I mean, one side made false accusations of misconduct against a judge and the judge still couldn't assign fault.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:52 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is the second bizarre KC-area divorce story in as many months: the other one involves African diamond mines.
posted by cog_nate at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2010


Delmoi: The (former) husband also did not comment for that story, it just sounds like the story was based on his blog.

What I thought was interesting was how they had their first kid at 19, then they both go on to earn 2 degrees, and she goes through law school and passes the Bar. They must have been very smart, motivated, and had lots of external support. Wonder what went wrong.
posted by fontophilic at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2010


Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd.


Kimberley Ireland doesn't seem to have been a woman scorned. She filed for divorce, and when she offered to take the guy back at one point, he was more than ready and willing to go back to her and made all the arrangements she asked of him, at which point she sent him a text message saying she'd changed her mind.

This is bizarre. And yes, it made me smile when she lost her law licence, but I can't imagine how those two will ever get out from under their debts now, which means their kids will be dealing with all the stresses of poverty and debt as well as from the trauma of having their parents being at war with each other. Some people simply aren't grown up enough to have kids.
posted by orange swan at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


disgusting
posted by grobstein at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


i hate her.
posted by istandb4u at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kimberly's kitchen-sink list of accusations included invasion of privacy, malicious prosecution, malicious defense, defamation, infliction of emotional distress, blackmail and extortion, tortuous interference, civil conspiracy and abuse of process. (emphasis added)

Malicious defense? What the hell is malicious defense?

It's frustrating not to have more from the protagonists, but that story was compelling. I was afraid it would end in a death.
posted by artlung at 8:01 AM on June 10, 2010


This is why I will never ever do family law. Horrifying.
posted by seventyfour at 8:01 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This tale is alternately frightens me and makes me want to enter law school, purely for my own defense.
posted by adipocere at 8:04 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I thought was interesting was how they had their first kid at 19, then they both go on to earn 2 degrees, and she goes through law school and passes the Bar. They must have been very smart, motivated, and had lots of external support. Wonder what went wrong.

Yeah, the kid at 19 leapt out at me as well. I wonder if there was simmering resentment in there. I would love/hate to know what the dynamic was like at the house, before the divorce.

Either way, there are plenty of ways to be crazy whilst also going successfully through grad school and/or law school. Haven't you ever met a successful capital-N Narcissist?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:05 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is probably a good question for AskMe but at what point can one party just stop participating in a case like this. If the husband gave up, fired his legal counsel due to hemorrhaging money via attorney's fees and just said he wasn't going to court anymore would the judge just lock him up?
posted by photoslob at 8:07 AM on June 10, 2010


I think what we've got here is someone who started as a paralegal, went to law school, and decided they were now officially badass.

You see this sometimes at major law schools, like my alma mater, but there it's generally mitigated by a certain professionalism imposed by the professors and their general distaste for this sort of petty grandstanding.* Or it winds up being true. A lot of my classmates were wicked smart and will have for more illustrious careers than I.

Ms. Ireland, on the other hand, seems possessed of a massive inferiority complex aggravated by her mildly-impressive law degree** and position at a small-to-medium sized firm*** in Kansas. If the judge estimates she's pulling down $50k a year, well, 50% of graduating law students make more than that. But she Went To Law School, so she's obviously just better than everybody, and there's few things better at making you a more effective dick than a law degree. I ought to know.

This sort of unprofessionalism is 1) why she's going to get disbarred, and 2) an excellent argument for limiting the number of people who have access to legal education. Seriously, we'd all be better of if people like this never had the opportunity to cause this sort of unpleasantness.

*If there's one thing top-flight law professors are good at, it's cutting self-important punks down a notch or three. Nothing works for ego correction quite as well as being made to stand at your seat to answer a question and then having the professor tell the class, "Yeah, don't write that down."

**While not what is known as a "third-tier toilet," UK Lawrence Law is comfortably second-tier at best. Still, there are plenty of decent lawyers that have come out of there, whose reputation is tarnished by Ms. Ireland. I wonder if they can revoke her degree?

***Four dozen attorneys does not count as a large firm anymore. Large firms have multiple offices with more attorneys than that.
posted by valkyryn at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


My divorce wasn't too bad. She Who Shall Not Be Named panicked I was going to make a move on her vested union pension (which I never even thought of), so, once I declared no interest, we moved ahead smoothly.
posted by Samizdata at 8:12 AM on June 10, 2010


Olathe resident here. It's boring suburbia. When I first moved here I thought I would go nuts from everything being so bland, maybe that's what happens to the ex-wife, who knows. Too many Frontega Chicken sandwiches at Panera, says I.
posted by hellojed at 8:12 AM on June 10, 2010 [4 favorites]



This sounds pretty tame compared to my experience with Family court.

And, it continues to this day - 15 years; 50-60,000 dollars later, and reams upon reams of court actions and motions and hearings and affidavits. My son will turn 18 in 1029 days (yes I am counting) and then, unfortunately for him, she will be his problem.

Throughout our custody battle, I have always tried to take the high road, and be the better human. Largely, I succeeded, although, yeah, it is hard and I did fail at times. My son has turned out well and I am very proud of him - but it would have been better if he had two active parents and not one parent and one psychopathic narcissist who abuses systems meant to help women in actual trouble.

I look at the wreckage that is her relationship with her son, and all I can do is shake my head. 15 years ago, when I was cutting his umblical cord in that hospital room... It wasn't supposed to be like this.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:16 AM on June 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


I worked for two years in a family law office and nothing in this article shocked me or even made me think this case could qualify for worst divorce ever.

Yeah, none of our clients or their spouses were lawyers, but once you've seen a couple who've been married for 20 years, and have three kids under eighteen, go to absolute scorched earth war over a squirrel-shaped nut dish, it takes more than a few mean texts to surprise you.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2010 [16 favorites]


maybe an fpp about how kids cope in high-conflict divorce situations would be better than this one?

Sure thing, headnsouth. You're composing one right now, right?
posted by hippybear at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2010


Can someone do a tl;dr here? I tried to read it but couldn't keep any of the characters straight.
posted by Melismata at 8:22 AM on June 10, 2010


What I thought was interesting was how they had their first kid at 19, then they both go on to earn 2 degrees, and she goes through law school and passes the Bar. They must have been very smart, motivated, and had lots of external support. Wonder what went wrong.

As I suggested above, going to law school isn't necessarily as impressive as it would have been fifty years ago. I saw this as a lawyer and recent graduate, so I'm speaking at least in part against my own interests.

The number of law students and law schools has skyrocketed since the 1980s, but the number of truly qualified law students hasn't actually gone up all that much. This is why the big firms are able to charge $500-1000/hr: there's more need for top-flight legal work than there are top-flight lawyers to do it. But not only do the creation of places like Thomas Cooley Law School flood the market with crap attorneys, they also take away qualified students from places like Kansas, meaning that outside the rarefied air of the top 12-25, law schools across the country have been admitting people they never would have considered a few decades go.

People like Ms. Ireland. Sure, she had the raw numbers to get in. But that only means she had around a 153 LSAT and 3.3 GPA, a B+ average. This, while not terrible isn't exactly anything to write home about, especially in today's era of undergraduate grade inflation. The numbers for U. Kansas Law are way below the 25th percentile at the top schools, where she would not have had a prayer.

In addition, starting in the 1980s, law schools stopped flunking people out in large numbers, which had been the practice until the mid-twentieth century. Harvard didn't really have a competitive admissions process until after the 1950s. Before that, almost anyone could go, but more than half of them would never graduate. Today, basically everybody who can score a 145 on the LSAT can go to law school somewhere, and the vast majority of them graduate.

In short: law school isn't what it used to be. Except for two dozen or so best schools in the country, admissions aren't as exclusive as they probably seem, and once you get in, you're basically guaranteed a degree. The result is people who should never be near a courtroom as anything other than a party driving litigation.

Sometimes I wish they'd keep the big kid toys on the high shelves.
posted by valkyryn at 8:24 AM on June 10, 2010 [27 favorites]


Also looking forward to reading hippybear's FPP on high-conflict divorce, it sounds interesting.
posted by ®@ at 8:24 AM on June 10, 2010


It's one thing to get into it with your ex, but how dumb do you have to be to go after the judge presiding over your case for no good reason?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:29 AM on June 10, 2010


I'm with valkyryn, this reads like a classic inferiority complex. One of the, supposedly, good things about KC is that no one really cares what you do or where you got your degree. You guys make fun of NY Mag for the snobber,y but it serves as a constant reminder that there are people Better Than You you special snowflake you. Behind the blandness of Panera infested strip malls lies families believing they're living their own version of Dynasty.
posted by geoff. at 8:30 AM on June 10, 2010


While I understand that sometimes 'they're just frickin' nuts' is the only explanation, I've found that in about 90% of situations that don't make any sense, it doesn't make sense because I'm missing a really, really important piece of information.

Ms. Ireland's actions seem so motiveless that the 'missing info' alarm went off almost immediately.
posted by Mooski at 8:30 AM on June 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


But not only do the creation of places like Thomas Cooley Law School flood the market with crap attorneys, they also take away qualified students from places like Kansas

Are students who would have otherwise gone to places like Kansas really going to Cooley in any significant numbers, or am I misreading you here?

Either way, it will be fun to see the tuition bubble pop in law schools, probably some time after an enormous student debt crisis.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2010


My theory: part of the objection some have to same sex marriage is sublimated discontent with how hetero marriage has gone in the USA. Rather than be active or angry about how things are in the majority, they are active or angry about how some want things to be in the minority. This atheist says let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
posted by eccnineten at 8:34 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


After reading that, I wouldn't be surprised if she finds this FPP and sues every one of us.
posted by bjork24 at 8:35 AM on June 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Law schools have desperately needed to be as exclusive as medical schools for a long, long time. The reason so many of such poor quality are allowed to operate? I don't know. Money plays a part, of course, but does the money trail lead to the American Bar Association, which sets the law school accreditation standards?

Something needs to be done, that's for sure.
posted by naju at 8:47 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is probably a good question for AskMe but at what point can one party just stop participating in a case like this. If the husband gave up, fired his legal counsel due to hemorrhaging money via attorney's fees and just said he wasn't going to court anymore would the judge just lock him up?

I wondered this sometimes during our custody dispute with our daughter's birthfather, which ended up costing us $47,000 in lawyer feels. Especially when he filed a completely frivolous appeal...wouldn't the appeals court have been able to see his argument was, in their words, "completely without merit" even if we hadn't spent $12,000 for our lawyer to research and prepare our little (not so little, actually) book for the court?

The whole thing felt horrible--like we were trapped in this thing we couldn't escape, had little or no control over what it was costing us. We were just at the mercy of this person who, under the law, had no chance of getting custody (and his lawyer, who has to have known the appeal was frivolous but apparently was happy to make the money). [Our case was complicated by the fact that his lawyer was being paid for by the county, so filing motions and appealing didn't cost him anything.]

I actually asked our lawyer at one point during the appeals process--when I honestly had no idea how we would possibly pay her bill, and she knew that--whether we had any other options. Maybe a cheaper lawyer? Maybe doing it ourselves? I suppose she had a vested interest in her answer (though since I had told her in so many words that I had no idea how we would pay her, just that we were honorable people who, cross our hearts, would pay her someday, God willing, in the distant future, if we were lucky, she can't have been too motivated by money), but she persuaded me that any version of firing her was a bad idea.
posted by not that girl at 8:56 AM on June 10, 2010


My divorce cost was about $300. It wasn't the fastest thing in the world, but I don't understand why the cost gets up to $10,000.
posted by Malice at 9:00 AM on June 10, 2010


"Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce and Jarndyce without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery Lane; but Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless."
posted by grumblebee at 9:00 AM on June 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I donno, it's all for a good cause if she gets disbarred.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:01 AM on June 10, 2010


Law schools have desperately needed to be as exclusive as medical schools for a long, long time. The reason so many of such poor quality are allowed to operate?

It's a lot easier to tell when a medical school is turning out a crap product. If a doctor kills a bunch of people, then he's a bad doctor.* If a lawyer files frivolous lawsuits, he might just be attracting crazy-ass clients, and he may well be decreasing the amount of insanity that could be in the system.

* -- Yes, I know it's not that simple, but it's still a lot easier, if only because many fewer bad lawyers will end up killing their clients.
posted by Etrigan at 9:02 AM on June 10, 2010


It can get worse when there is money. The Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade and his estranged wife Siohvaughn Wade have been locked in a battle for 3 years, during which time she has hired and fired nine attorneys.

She may always be able to find someone to take her case because there is the appearance of money to be had. The judge has ruled that she will have to appear pro se at the next court appearance if she can't get her act together and awarded preliminary custody to the father.
posted by readery at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2010


But not only do the creation of places like Thomas Cooley Law School flood the market with crap attorneys,

We live just down the road from Cooley's main campus. I've always been curious about it. Can you tell me more about why it sucks? (Other than the little "that can't be right!" alarm that goes off whenever I see their billboards bragging that they're the 3rd-largest law school in the country.) Are they for-profit?

Also, this story reminds me of my aunt and her sister, who fought over their mother's not-especially-large estate so viciously that, in the end, literally every penny of it went for lawyer fees. Both of them would rather have it go to a lawyer than that the others sister get her hands on it. It was scary.
posted by not that girl at 9:04 AM on June 10, 2010


Jaltcoh: I'm not seeing any excessive commas in the article.

Here's a random example:

The "delay for the sheer sake of delay," as Byrne wrote in a letter to Slater, was benefiting Kimberly, who continued to receive $2,200 a month from Kevin in spousal and child support, a sum that would likely be reduced once the case was settled or tried.

This sentence is technically correct, but it becomes a lot less painful to read when punctuation is varied. I'd probably change it to the following:

The "delay for the sheer sake of delay" (as Byrne wrote in a letter to Slater) was benefiting Kimberly, who continued to receive $2,200 a month from Kevin in spousal and child support—a sum that would likely be reduced once the case was settled or tried.

Using parentheses and dashes like this aren't really necessary, but the break the text up more, identify interrupting clauses for better readability, and are generally less painful for the internal reader. Commas are flexible tools, but since there are so many tasks commas can perform, sentences that are built in such a way as to require large numbers of them can lead to a lot of unnecessary difficulty.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 9:22 AM on June 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


She responded by filing a motion claiming that Kevin was turning their daughter against her.

What the hell kind of motion is that?? Family law is the worst.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:22 AM on June 10, 2010


I got divorced with two kids and a house for around $350 this year. Once we separated we treated each other like grown adults and worked out what we needed to work out. The kids always had the priority and I'm happy with how it was settled.

Just wanted to add to the "divorce doesn't have to be insane" pile.
posted by unixrat at 9:24 AM on June 10, 2010


I guess because the source material is entirely the husband's blog, we are missing a LOT of information as to why the judge couldn't find fault in either party. Based on this article, she was entirely at fault and should have had to pay his legal fees. But I imagine there was some crazy bullshit that he was up to behind the scenes as well.
posted by antifuse at 9:25 AM on June 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


This seems to fit a pattern of crazy female exes being trotted out and put on display. There was that guy who posted all of his ex's insane voice mails, and another guy posting about things his gf and he fight about.

The MEME of the woman scorned, is strange, and would play differently if the gender combination were either reversed or same-sex. I cannot explain why exactly, but it (hey look at this latest instance of batshittery by some chick) is discomforting to me.
posted by Danf at 9:25 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll be honest, I was half-expecting this story to end in violence. I know people who've been through contentious divorces and it's always a possibility, even after the trial is over. But it's a certainty if you consider the emotional damage done, especially to the children.
posted by tommasz at 9:25 AM on June 10, 2010


People like Ms. Ireland. Sure, she had the raw numbers to get in. But that only means she had around a 153 LSAT and 3.3 GPA, a B+ average.

I can't tell from this article whether or not Ireland was an unskilled lawyer (did it say what area she practiced in?). I know that may seem like a strange comment, given that her behaviour may have led to her being disbarred, but she might have been a fine IP or oil and gas or tax or insurance claim lawyer. I really don't know. What is clear is that she became unhinged, and that nothing -- including professional ethics -- would stand in the way of her achieving her goal, which was apparently to destroy her husband financially.

Also, I've worked at one of those top-flight law firms that bill out for huge amounts. The lawyers there aren't so different than the lawyers elsewhere. In fact, I probably work with smarter, more skilled lawyers where I am now than I did at the monster firm.

I agree though that law school admissions are simply too high. It's incredible how many new lawyers there are every single year. There is no demand to meet it. I wouldn't make a 1-to-1 comparison with too many unmarried single men (leading to war) but there's something happening and it isn't good. (partly, a lot of unemployment)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:33 AM on June 10, 2010


Jaltcoh: I'm not seeing any excessive commas in the article.

Here's a random example:

The "delay for the sheer sake of delay," as Byrne wrote in a letter to Slater, was benefiting Kimberly, who continued to receive $2,200 a month from Kevin in spousal and child support, a sum that would likely be reduced once the case was settled or tried.

This sentence is technically correct, but it becomes a lot less painful to read when punctuation is varied.


Yeah, I agree that that sentence is technically correct but too long-winded. If you see so many commas ("____, as so-and-so said, was ___ing, who ___ed, which _____"), you should either leave out some of the info or break it up into more than one sentence. I don't even think your parentheses/dash solution is particularly better, since it's equally labyrinthine and actually strikes me as a worse case of punctuation overload. But I didn't notice a lot of sentences like this in the article.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:34 AM on June 10, 2010


We live just down the road from Cooley's main campus. I've always been curious about it. Can you tell me more about why it sucks?

It's widely regarded as both the biggest and worst law school in the country. It's the poster child for the ongoing law school bubble / scam.

One reason is that they admit basically anyone who passes the LSAT. Another is that they've created thier own rankings system to perpetuate the myth that anyone going there has a realiztic shot of every paying back thier student loans. Hilariously, things like GPA, LSAT, Bar passage rate, and employment upon graduation are given the same wieght as Total Volumes in Library, Total Applications, Total Law School Square Footage, Program Achievement Rating Rank. Even by this measure, Cooley only rates themselves at the 12th best law school in the nation. Although they do own the naming rights to a minor league stadium.

They also have one of the highest attrition rates in the country.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:38 AM on June 10, 2010


Can someone do a tl;dr here? I tried to read it but couldn't keep any of the characters straight.

Husband and wife were high school sweethearts, married with kids at 19. Both went onto college, and she eventually became a lawyer. Her ego got the best of her and she walked all over her doormat of a husband. Her, being a lawyer, could file court briefs for next to nothing but her own time, and was probably having an affair with her boss who was the lawyer representing her.

Neither one has any assets, and the whole thing costs them much more money than they are worth. He ended up living in his truck broke from the insane child-support payments, but the silver lining is that she will probably loose her license and if not has spread enough ill-will around the local legal community to ruin her career.
posted by wcfields at 9:39 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not seeing any excessive commas in the article.

I saw excessive people - maybe I read it too quickly but by about the one-third mark it felt like the writer was just throwing names at me.
posted by ChuqD at 9:39 AM on June 10, 2010


Actually, I partially retract my comment about lawyers being the same everywhere. I'm talking about moving from one top-notch organization to another. I've had only intermittent exposure to the wide world of nickel and dime law firms, and there truly are some wingnuts and buffoons out there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:52 AM on June 10, 2010


It's a lot easier to tell when a medical school is turning out a crap product

But if all we want to do is make law schools more exclusive, that should be easy enough: require higher LSAT scores and GPAs.
posted by naju at 9:53 AM on June 10, 2010


Sorry, didn't finish my train of thought. Drastically reduce the number of applicants, and many or all of the bottom-tier schools will be out of a business model.
posted by naju at 9:54 AM on June 10, 2010


I get the impression that the legal system is ill equipped to deal with people who will make it their focus to flood the courts with an avalanche of malicious filings. If you want to ruin someone's life through the courts, it doesn't look like there's much available to stop you.
posted by deanc at 9:57 AM on June 10, 2010


It's a lot easier to tell when a medical school is turning out a crap product

It's pretty much the same problem. MDs whose patients die more may be attracting sicker patients. There are MD types who specialize in treating only very sick people. An MD who does a good deed and airdrops into West Virginia will have worse outcome records because her patients are worse off and harder to help. Accounting for those things is very difficult because doctors and patients sort themselves out in a complicated nonrandom way. Med schools and candidates sort themselves in a complex nonrandom way also.

Looking at something like malpractice rates is also difficult because it reflects only the rare extreme cases and not overall quality of care. Malpractice also is based in a strong way on what patients you treat and how risky they are (and how friendly you are -- you can bury a lot of patients and not get sued as long as you're nice about it).
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:02 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


As presented here, all parties appear to be acting in bad faith throughout, and I'm not surprised. It seems as if these folks have unresolved hostility, and rather than attempt to resolve it they're feeding the pocketbooks of two lawyers who are attempting to fan the flames and make as much money as possible. It's really quite depressing.

However, the vast majority of divorces are likely not at all this way. Nasty divorce stories make for good entertainment, but good entertainment seldom resembles reality in any useful way. I'm just sorry (for the kids, mostly) that any divorces end this way -- is it really so hard to say "okay, we're not working well as romantic partners, but we're going to raise these kids together no matter what, so let's separate amicably and focus our energies on raising these kids as a team?"
posted by davejay at 10:03 AM on June 10, 2010


But if all we want to do is make law schools more exclusive, that should be easy enough: require higher LSAT scores and GPAs.

Applicants are already in competition with each other. Just reduce the number of admissions. Here in Canada (in a few uni's at least) we've gone in the opposite direction.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:09 AM on June 10, 2010


Sad, disgusting, inappropriate, just without words. But his is why I hesitate divorce. Like othes have said, people can be dicks. None of this was in the best interest of the children and I'm shocked more wasn't done to have these two knock it the fuck off.
posted by stormpooper at 10:13 AM on June 10, 2010


As presented here, all parties appear to be acting in bad faith throughout, and I'm not surprised.

I don't see how the husband appeared to be acting in bad faith, at least as presented here. Other than blogging about the whole thing.
posted by antifuse at 10:16 AM on June 10, 2010


LOTS of divorces end up this way.

People are going to get crazy with distrust and the divorce system seems to exacerbate it. It's impossible for the judge to make a judgment in the best interests of the kids let alone the couple.

Does anyone else think the divorce process should be changed? IMHO, divorce should NOT be handled in a court with lawyers and should be FORCED to produce the most equitable and stable transition as possible. What does that system look like? I don’t exactly know but I’m sure we could throw some ideas in a rock tumbler that would eventually get polished enough to produce a better system than the court system.
posted by Increase at 10:36 AM on June 10, 2010


We live just down the road from Cooley's main campus. I've always been curious about it. Can you tell me more about why it sucks?

They are, in fact, a non-profit. They also suck.

Some numbers. Some more numbers:

- They aren't affiliated with a university. This drastically reduces the quality of scholars they are capable of attracting.

- Their admissions standards are just awful. Like you can get in with a C-average GPA and a 146 on the LSAT.

- Their national bar passage rate is about 67%, almost 18% below the national average.

- Their first year attrition rate is massive. They admit about 1900 students a year to their first year program and cover under 900 degrees. That's about a 50% attrition and/or transfer rate. The attrition rate most top schools is minuscule, well below 5%. I think my alma mater has about a 99% graduation rate with a net inflow of transfer students.

- They've got six times as many part-time as full-time students. Part-time programs aren't nearly as rigorous as full-time ones and are generally reserved for those students who couldn't get in somewhere full time.

- Despite their woeful statistics and measly average starting salaries, their tuition is almost $28k a year. I went to a top-25 school, and my tuition was less in the low $30k range.

- Something like 50% of their enrollment is either unemployed, status unknown, or flunks out. Another 20% transfer somewhere else. 15% get a job with a firm of any kind, but almost none of them are top firms.

By comparison, Valparaiso, which is similarly ranked and located in the same part of the country, has more than 60% of its enrolling students end up with some kind of law job and another 10% with jobs in the business world. None of these are terribly glamorous positions--Valpo's placement in BigLaw is still abysmal--but if you go to Valpo, odds are pretty good you'll end up as a lawyer with a job. The same cannot be said of Cooley.

tl;dr version: don't go to law school, but if you do go, for f*ck's sake, don't go to freaking Cooley. They're a joke, and not a terribly funny one.
posted by valkyryn at 10:41 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Quite a story. I found it hard to stop reading about this train wreck. Unfortunately, a small number of divorces are like this -- they generate huge numbers of court files and never seem to stop, even after trial. The people involved come from every walk of life and often fairly limited means. The only really unusual aspect of this case is that the lawyer party made false allegations about the mediation judge to the judicial conduct commission.

I'd add a warning -- not only is the article drawn from the husband's blog, meaning there clearly is information missing, but per the trial judge's ruling quoted in the article, both sides made endless allegations against each other, filing motion after motion.

As for the question above: This is probably a good question for AskMe but at what point can one party just stop participating in a case like this? The answer to that is, at any point, but failure to respond at all to the other party's petition or motions usually means losing by default. Failure to follow court orders can result in much worse outcomes like fines and jail . . . I do wonder why no one sanctioned the wife in this case for her ongoing defiance of discovery orders re her income.

Finally, and yet again -- there are poor practitioners in every profession. There are many, many very fine attorneys, and they graduate from all over the US, from small and lower ranked law schools too. And no, there still aren't enough attorneys to meet the need for them, which is why people still can anticipate employment if they get a law degree.
posted by bearwife at 10:45 AM on June 10, 2010


she might have been a fine IP or oil and gas or tax or insurance claim lawyer

Really, really unlikely. The firm she originally worked at is one of the biggest in Kansas City, Missouri, who will likely have those sorts of people.

But she went solo. You don't do IP, oil/gas, insurance defense, etc. as a solo practitioner. That's corporate law, and you can't really do corporate law as a solo practitioner. You lack the resources. what you do is family law, criminal defense, general practice (wills, trusts, residential real estate transactions, etc.), and tort claims (ambulance chasing). The sorts of things for which you charge a modest flat fee and hope your clients can actually pay.
posted by valkyryn at 10:50 AM on June 10, 2010


While I understand that sometimes 'they're just frickin' nuts' is the only explanation, I've found that in about 90% of situations that don't make any sense, it doesn't make sense because I'm missing a really, really important piece of information.

Ms. Ireland's actions seem so motiveless that the 'missing info' alarm went off almost immediately.


Admittedly, we only get parts of one side, but the way I read it is that she was having an affair with McKee and eventually decided to dump Kevin to start a new marriage with McKee (this would also fit some of the inferiority/resentment over lost youth scenarios other people mentioned). Kevin had always rolled over for her in the past, so she assumed he would just give her what she wanted. When he hesistated even a bit, she freaked out, and then needed to justify her actions with righteousness an cover up the original, more tawdry motivations, so she convinced herself that she had been horribly wronged. I think a lot of her seemingly bizarre behavior after that stems from her desire to prove to one and all that she was the innocent victim of a viscious deadbeat and a corrupt legal system.

Or possibly I'm reading way too far into a summary of blog posts.
posted by Copronymus at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


people still can anticipate employment if they get a law degree

Except for the classes of 2008, 2009, 2010, and probably 2011 and 2012. We're just screwed.
posted by valkyryn at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


FWIW, my dad's an attorney (not family), and he and my mom were divorced some time ago. They had an amicable separation (as these things go), and they were able to have the filings drawn up by a friend who was also an attorney. Like some others, they only spent a few hundred dollars and never had any legal disputes after. But they didn't extend their disagreements with each other into the divorce proceedings or custody agreement. I think that's all that's really needed to make it work better, two people who are done fighting, at least long enough to resolve the important stuff.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:52 AM on June 10, 2010


I'm with valkyryn on this one.

Petty person procures perceived power to pointlessly persecute.
posted by Xoebe at 10:53 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


IMHO, divorce should NOT be handled in a court with lawyers and should be FORCED to produce the most equitable and stable transition as possible.

The adversarial system is pretty much the best way to deal with things like this, unfortunately. If you take lawyers and courts out of the equation, you're just going to replace them with advocates and mediation chambers or some such nonsense. And those people will be just as pricey, and just as evil, and just as crazy, because their clients will be too. "Equitable and stable" go right out the window when relationships end. Throw kids into the equation, and good lord can otherwise rational people get insane.
posted by Etrigan at 10:53 AM on June 10, 2010


tl;dr version: don't go to law school, but if you do go, for f*ck's sake, don't go to freaking Cooley. They're a joke, and not a terribly funny one.

Thanks to both people who responded about this. I'd often been curious about it without quite getting motivated to look into it. Another feather in the cap of the sad little city I call home.
posted by not that girl at 10:54 AM on June 10, 2010


That is a serious ass train wreck. Can you imagine the Ask.MetaFilter questions that couple could generate?
posted by chunking express at 10:58 AM on June 10, 2010


When he hesistated even a bit, she freaked out, and then needed to justify her actions with righteousness an cover up the original, more tawdry motivations, so she convinced herself that she had been horribly wronged. I think a lot of her seemingly bizarre behavior after that stems from her desire to prove to one and all that she was the innocent victim of a viscious deadbeat and a corrupt legal system.

Well, I can only speak from experience, but when you have a relationship dynamic like that, the controlling person can have a very bad reaction when their control is challenged by their partner. I've seen it happen where the controller completely loses it. It's like cognitive dissonance straining from the tension of too much contradictory information and too little will to change, and something snaps when it changes or can't be sustained any longer.

Not proud of it, but I used to be a little like Kevin, in that I'd let my partner control the relationship and had trouble with boundaries. When I finally figured out what I had been doing all along, I finally decided that was enough. My partner at the time kinda lost it (and she had other issues, too), and the next few weeks were a complete nightmare - she made sure of that - even though we weren't together anymore. Not like this, and not nearly as long either, but it was pretty scary. I can see how someone who is controlling and also a litigious person with the knowledge to screw someone up could really do some damage if they felt scorned and no longer in control.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:02 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to work in a high profile law firm. It seems to me that the couple of divorces I heard about within the firm were more like this than not.

Just like terrorists are often engineers (previous MeFi post about this, IIRC), it seems like crazy divorces often have lawyers as part of the couple (I'm being facetious).
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2010


The adversarial system is pretty much the best way to deal with things like this, unfortunately.

The system can be adversarial without being like family court as it stands, however. The nonsense we see in this case is not exactly evidence of an efficient system working in the best interests of justice. Then again, garbage in, garbage out when it comes to crazy people, especially when they are willing to game the system and submit false statements.

...

As much as Cooley bites, getting rid of even the entire fourth tier would not have affected the wife's legal education. She still went to a more-than-decent law school and apparently had a grown-up legal career. Plenty of nutty, abusive people are also intelligent and able to hold down demanding jobs - at least for a while, in this case. It was absurd that this farce of a divorce was able to go on for so long, at such great expense, but in a way that's also the fault of a family court system which clearly allows such madness.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:10 AM on June 10, 2010


The answer to that is, at any point, but failure to respond at all to the other party's petition or motions usually means losing by default.

But that's the thing - there was a whopping $15k worth of equity in the house. So the fact that he kept fighting her obviously shows that there is definitely some missing information in this story.
posted by antifuse at 11:12 AM on June 10, 2010


MetaFilter: I ask to be compensated for lost income, medical expenses, lost opportunities, lost business, loss of reputation and professional good will, loss of productive use of time, humiliation, mental distress, career disruption, substantial loss in salary, prestige, and other fringe benefits, as well as inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of family and business relationships, emotional pain, suffering and mental anguish, all in an amount which cannot be ascertained precisely at this time.
posted by lukemeister at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


As much as Cooley bites, getting rid of even the entire fourth tier would not have affected the wife's legal education.

I'd disagree. Getting rid of a bunch of law schools would make existing law schools more competitive, especially since, like Cooley, some of the biggest law schools in the country are also some of the largest.

in a way that's also the fault of a family court system which clearly allows such madness.

Arguably true, but for good reason: in the adversarial system which is in use in all common law countries (England and its former colonies, basically) the parties drive the litigation not only as their duty but as their right. Judges taking too active a role in litigation is frequently grounds for appeal, and that's what would have needed to happen to really shut this sort of thing down. Parties have a lot of leeway, though it looks like she lost her law license as a result of these shenanigans. Still, given how bat-shiat insane Ms. Ireland appears to have become, giving her something legitimate to gripe about doesn't sound like it'd have been a good idea.
posted by valkyryn at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2010


Also

MetaFilter: I have now determined that my claims were untrue.
posted by lukemeister at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


But that's the thing - there was a whopping $15k worth of equity in the house. So the fact that he kept fighting her obviously shows that there is definitely some missing information in this story.

There's clearly SOME missing information, but custody and allegedly onerous child support payments were at issue. Further, not all motives are necessarily "rational."
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:18 AM on June 10, 2010


I'd disagree. Getting rid of a bunch of law schools would make existing law schools more competitive, especially since, like Cooley, some of the biggest law schools in the country are also some of the largest.

I don't really see how the existing schools would be more competitive. Unless you're saying that the law schools to be gotten rid of contain people capable of knocking out less-competitive law students from the (existing / better) schools. I would see it more like the people at these fourth-tier schools have already been found wanting by the (existing / better) schools.

Although I do agree. Oftentimes the biggest schools are the largest.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:25 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously, we'd all be better of if people like this never had the opportunity to cause this sort of unpleasantness.

I disagree completely. Any major problems here are with the legal system, not the fact that too many people have access to legal education. You're basically prescribing ignorance and subservience for the less intelligent or otherwise mentally challenged.

There will always be evil lawyers, regardless of how tough the acceptance requirements at law schools are.

I'm sorta surprised at all the people advocating that less people should be allowed to practice law. (Why isn't there the same concern about elementary school teachers?)

The "law" should be flexible and robust enough to allow everyone to practice it without crippling the system.

Write better laws, don't restrict access to the system. Everyone should be able to defend themselves in court or bring action against another person without having to pay a ridiculously overpriced middle man.

The US legal system acts a lot like a government-subsidized industry. Talk about corporate welfare: make it a law that only people who can afford thousands of dollars in tuition and have X requirements can compete in your industry...

As much as Cooley bites, getting rid of even the entire fourth tier would not have affected the wife's legal education.

I'd disagree. Getting rid of a bunch of law schools would make existing law schools more competitive...


Seriously? You are arguing that more competitive law schools would have prevented this situation from happening? As others have noted, this shit goes on ALL THE TIME. You are suggesting that the root cause is low-quality law schools?
posted by mrgrimm at 11:25 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


To the folks who say the applicant acceptance rate should be lower for law schools: Isn't that what the bar exam is for? Why should we be making it harder for people to get an education? I see that there are many problems with the current system (degree mills, grade inflation*, etc.), but I'm not sure that not giving people access to education if they want it is the solution.

*Grade inflation, someone told me, started during the Vietnam war, when giving someone a low grade could mean that their grades would be low enough that they would get drafted.
posted by aniola at 11:27 AM on June 10, 2010


I'd disagree. Getting rid of a bunch of law schools would make existing law schools more competitive, especially since, like Cooley, some of the biggest law schools in the country are also some of the largest.

I still don't buy that there are that many people deciding between places like Cooley and places like Kansas, except when there's a free ride on the table and the student has a reason to get a law degree without firm ambitions, such as when someone just wants to be a real estate broker or a police detective or some such.

Arguably true, but for good reason: in the adversarial system which is in use in all common law countries (England and its former colonies, basically) the parties drive the litigation not only as their duty but as their right.

My POV comes from being in New York, which is notorious for having the most asinine, retrograde divorce laws in the fifty states, but there's plenty about the divorce process which could be fundamentally altered without abandoning the underlying precepts of our legal system.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2010


There will always be evil lawyers, regardless of how tough the acceptance requirements at law schools are.

True, but ideally there would be fewer incompetent lawyers.

And I'm not necessarily arguing that the unsustainable dynamic which currently characterizes the American system of legal education is what caused this divorce to be messy. I don't think we'd have seen the explosion of filings and motions in this case if she hadn't been a lawyer, but I do think she'd have found some other way of making this awful. A rose by any other name, etc.

But I do think that reducing the number of law schools will make existing law schools more competitive. Still, the argument for that is probably a derail. I shall ponder a FPP.
posted by valkyryn at 11:44 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Like Cooley, some of the biggest law schools in the country are also some of the largest.
posted by cereselle at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2010


But she went solo.

I must have missed that. I caught no details of her firm/office. But the point was that I get no sense of her competence as a lawyer previous to this set of events from this description. Clearly she had the capacity to do irrational and unethical things, but she's not alone there.

I don't think we'd have seen the explosion of filings and motions in this case if she hadn't been a lawyer, but I do think she'd have found some other way of making this awful. A rose by any other name, etc.

This is my takeaway.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:55 AM on June 10, 2010


Sad that he was being partially blamed for the continuous litigation when he was just defending himself against her crazy-ass crazy assedness.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:56 AM on June 10, 2010


Sad that he was being partially blamed for the continuous litigation when he was just defending himself against her crazy-ass crazy assedness.

We really only have his blog, apparently, to blame for that. The judge appears to have been pissed at both sides, and I kinda doubt that he'd be annoyed if all of the husband's filings had been, "No, she's wrong, and here's why."
posted by Etrigan at 11:58 AM on June 10, 2010


Though those Cooley's stats, egads. Something very different is going on there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:05 PM on June 10, 2010


Sad that he was being partially blamed for the continuous litigation when he was just defending himself against her crazy-ass crazy assedness.

We really only have his blog, apparently, to blame for that. The judge appears to have been pissed at both sides, and I kinda doubt that he'd be annoyed if all of the husband's filings had been, "No, she's wrong, and here's why."


People keep repeating that the only source for this story is Kevin's blog. That's manifestly false.

It's clear from the article that the writer interviewed numerous people involved with the case in various ways, possibly including Moriarty, the judge who led that disastrous mediation session (not clear from the text). The reporter was not able to talk to either Kevin or Kimberly, and so relies on Kevin's blog in lieu of direct conversations with him. But it is far from the only source. There is also a voluminous paper trail, including all the motions filed by Kimberly in all of the court proceedings, and the record of the State disciplinary proceedings against her.

The claim that we should defer to "the judge" who found fault with both sides is pretty silly as well. The judge in question, judge Foster, became involved late in the ongoing proceedings, so that he wasn't exposed to a lot of the insanity Kimberly and her original lawyer perpetrated throughout. He also presided over an incident where Kevin, not represented by counsel, became emotional in court, which may have reflected poorly on him. Meanwhile, we have tons of hard evidence that makes it pretty easy to assign fault: the insane lawsuit against Moriarty for his mediation (she accused him of masturbating under his desk, much later admitting this was false); the disciplinary proceeding over Kimberly's misconduct -- it's not easy to get disbarred, you know; the extremely ambitious Miami County lawsuit against opposing counsel, which was dismissed with prejudice without reaching the facts. We know Kimberly was drawing $2,200 a month(!!) in support obligations, while fighting viciously against releasing information about her own income. That's a hell of a lot of money, and if you really need it you should be willing to furnish evidence of the fact. She refused to furnish that evidence, at insane length, quite clearly because she didn't really need it.

Now, we don't know everything, and it could turn out that the facts we do know paint a misleading picture -- sometimes the best inference turns out wrong. But we have a lot of solid information to work from, and much of it is objective, not one-sided. You cannot look at this picture and insist on a studied neutrality.
posted by grobstein at 12:22 PM on June 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


But that's the thing - there was a whopping $15k worth of equity in the house. So the fact that he kept fighting her obviously shows that there is definitely some missing information in this story.

it wasn't just about the house. The wife demanded $2200/month in child support from the husband. That ate up much of his after-tax income, leaving him with little to live on. He countered by demanding the financials from her storefront law firm, claiming that she must be concealing her income, since she said she only made $24,000/yr. At that point, things seem to have spun out of control.

It wasn't just about the minor equity in the house, it was that she was making a long term claim on his future earnings.
posted by deanc at 12:23 PM on June 10, 2010


Given her penchant for litigation, I'd watch the snarky comments.

Just some lawyerly advice.
posted by mygoditsbob at 12:29 PM on June 10, 2010


Just some speech-chilling advice.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:35 PM on June 10, 2010


People keep repeating that the only source for this story is Kevin's blog. That's manifestly false.

You're right, and I apologize for perpetrating that falsehood. However, we still don't have a lot of the facts necessary to definitively assign blame for all the craziness in this thing. I feel fairly comfortable in my belief that she's crazy, sure, but he stayed with her until she pitched him, and then he still wanted her back, so who's to say she was the only loon in that pond?
posted by Etrigan at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2010


I kept picturing the Swans from Best In Show as I read this.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2010


"...you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father parent."
posted by coolguymichael at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2010


it wasn't just about the house. The wife demanded $2200/month in child support from the husband.

That's true, I forgot about that. And it seems that he *did* eventually get that lowered... But I'm feeling like it was a Pyrrhic Victory, at best, after all the lawyers' fees.

What is really astounding is that no judge had the balls to actually compel her to give up the financials for how much she actually earned. When your boss is also your divorce counsel (and also possibly your lover, from what this sounds like)? Methinks there's a bit of a conflict there.
posted by antifuse at 1:15 PM on June 10, 2010


The one divorce I know of that cost over $100,000 entailed the woman trying repeatedly to have her ex-husband deported back to England. They did hair tests, psychiatric evaluations, etc. on him - he always passed and she always protested it.

This, after he came home one day to no children (they have two daughters), an emptied house (she'd already rented a new apt. in her side-boyfriend's name) and a decimated shared bank account. She accomplished this on a Tuesday while he was at work. I don't see anything here that surprises me. Unreasonable people are not to be reasoned with.

I always thought that bitch was weird when she got onto me for giving her daughter a bath after the (9-month-old) vomited on herself and I changed her clothes and sponged her down. Apparently, "bathing her more often than once every three days is rubbing her skin off!!!!".

There are crazy people who only activate after you've married them or they've suddenly discovered drugs or built their secret life. That's why honesty and mutual respect are the cornerstones of marriage, NOT love.

Love will make you put up with insane shit. That said, no, it doesn't HAVE to be this way - and that crazy bitch I'm talking about is now on her fourth husband. Good luck, anyone considering divorce! Work your shit out while it's still amicable - once you start seeing new people or getting mad, it gets ugly QUICK.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:45 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


To all, here is the court's filing record for this case.
posted by reenum at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2010


Yes, i'm sure there must be some missing information in here as a man can't ever be possibly in the right.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:54 PM on June 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I feel fairly comfortable in my belief that she's crazy, sure, but he stayed with her until she pitched him, and then he still wanted her back, so who's to say she was the only loon in that pond?

LOLZ @ PEOPLE IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS

DOHOHOHOHOHO
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]



Yeah, pretty much every day in family law is at least this crazy. I've worked on cases very much like this one. (Sans the masturbation complaint against the judge.)

But I'll see their complaint against the judge and raise them:

1) A foaming-at-the mouth client who produced actual foam.

2) Bellowed threats to opposing counsel during mediation.

3) A two-year war over the value of a ten-year-old Toyota;

4) Doggie psych evals.

And those are just the things I can talk about.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:39 PM on June 10, 2010


palmcorder_yajna, a dog psychological evaluation sounds like an awesome document.
posted by artlung at 4:05 PM on June 10, 2010


One day a year all lawyers should be stripped naked and forced to run naked through the main street of town while citizens on both sides of the street hit them with sticks. It's only fair considering the misery their profession has inflicted upon the world.
posted by MikeMc at 9:00 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. That's a bravely unpopular position.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:13 PM on June 10, 2010


One day a year all non-lawyers should be stripped naked and forced to run naked through the mains street of town while lawyers on both sides hit them with sticks.

/bravely unpopular
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:36 PM on June 10, 2010


One day a year all lawyers should be stripped naked and forced to run naked through the main street of town while citizens on both sides of the street hit them with sticks. It's only fair considering the misery their profession has inflicted upon the world.

So what's your suggestion to replace criminal justice systems and disputes resolution? Trial by combat?
posted by rodgerd at 3:09 AM on June 11, 2010


So law school would be more like a dojo or gladiator school? That would be so cool!
posted by Ritchie at 6:32 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


One day a year all lawyers should be stripped naked and forced to run naked through the main street of town while citizens on both sides of the street hit them with sticks. It's only fair considering the misery their profession has inflicted upon the world.

Before the advent of lawyers in the courtroom, the method of deciding the outcome of a criminal case was trial by ordeal.

A common ordeal was the ordeal of water. Basically, they tied you up and threw you in the lake. If you survived, you were guilty, and they hung you. If you died, you were innocent.

It took a few centuries and the birth of the legal profession to convince people that there was a better way of doing this.
posted by valkyryn at 6:33 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


So what's your suggestion to replace criminal justice systems and disputes resolution?

I'm not saying we should get rid of lawyers just that they should receive an annual beating to atone for all the crazy shit that wasted time and taxpayer money for the preceding year.
posted by MikeMc at 10:30 AM on June 11, 2010


Well, only if they're guilty of such things.
First we'll have to establish some kind of official venue to determine that...
posted by amethysts at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2010


I'm unamused by the idea that (further) restricting the number of attorneys will improve the field. The most it would do is improve the bottom line of those allowed to practice. For one thing, it assumes that the restrictions would only be on those undefined "bad" attorneys...perhaps the ones from cheap schools?

Market forces aren't the be-all and end-all solution to every problem, but they work well when barriers to entry and exit are low. Restricting entry more than it already is will just make the forces that sort the decent lawyers from the bums that much less effective.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:33 PM on June 11, 2010


So what's your suggestion to replace criminal justice systems and disputes resolution? Trial by combat?

Trial by combat was replaced by trial by champion, where the disputants were represented by proxies. Oddly enough, the disputant who could hire the best champion was almost always in the right.

Today's legal system bears a strong resemblance to trial by champion in that respect. Perhaps we'd be better served by one where legal representatives were drawn by lot.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:36 PM on June 11, 2010


I'd say this kind of thing occurring occasionally is inevitable in an adversarial system. There's a certain kind of person who believes that, to the extent you don't do everything you CAN do for your side, you're damaging your position. There is no such thing as too ridiculous or vindictive, only possibly advantageous.

Just like in a street fight you don't play by "rules," and you don't aim for the attacker's leg with your 9mm. Playing half-ass only prolongs the confrontation and causes more pain on everyone involved. Clausewitz. Overwhelming force doctrine.

Not that I agree with that in family law, but it's going to happen when these kind of type-a people are involved.
posted by ctmf at 10:04 AM on June 13, 2010


I think you're right, often it's a thing of professional adversaries making a fight where there isn't one. Friends of mine decided to have an amicable divorce, worked things out between them, then their lawyers (hers was her brother-in-law, big mistake even though it kept her costs down) turned it into a three-year battle. In the end they dumped the lawyers and did a divorce out of a self-help book. Fortunately, they retained their friendship despite all the "let's you and him fight" they were subjected to.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:13 PM on June 13, 2010


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