Grounds for Divorce

As I have previously indicated in several prior articles, I have been practicing divorce law, or as we highly trained professionals prefer to call it, domestic relations law, for more years than I care to remember. Much like medical doctors, we doctors of jurisprudence (yes, I really do have a doctorate degree and you can call me Dr. Levin if you would like) profit on other people’s misfortune. Nobody ever calls his or her lawyer or doctor when they are having a good day.

Client:  Hi, Attorney Levin?

Me:      Yes.

Client:  This is John Golden. I just wanted to call you to tell you what a great day I am having. Everything has gone perfectly right for me today.

Me:      That’s terrific John. I will now send you my bill for this phone call.

Client:  Oh, shit. There goes my perfect day. Goddamn attorneys!

The truth is that people only call their attorney when they are having a problem. In my case, it is either when they are about to get divorced or they have been charged with a crime. Now, I, of course, being the truly caring and compassionate human being that I am, am most concerned for my clients and my potential clients. Most attorneys, however, don’t particularly care what the problem is, as long as the client has the retainer fee. The same as most doctors don’t care if you were hurt in a car accident or your girlfriend cut off your penis after she caught you cheating. As long as you have insurance, your doctor is sympathetic. And hopefully he/she will refer you to my office after he/she is done treating you because you are going to need an attorney under either scenario.

When a client comes into the office seeking a divorce, all I really need to make sure of at the initial meeting is that the client has a basis for getting the divorce. This is known as having “grounds” for divorce. Grounds in Ohio include a lot of different things, but basically you need to establish that your spouse is a scum sucking sexual deviate (this would be called adultery) or that they refuse to agree that the toilet paper should come over the top of the roll instead of from underneath (which would constitute incompatibility). There are a  few other things that someone at sometime determined were so bad as to permit a court to break those holy bonds of matrimony, but only after the parties have paid the court costs. And hopefully paid their attorneys.

A man filed suit for divorce against his wife claiming neglect of duty because his wife steadfastly refused to make him coffee in the morning. The judge threw the case out telling the husband, “Sorry, you have no grounds.” (Rim shot.)

Most divorce cases are settled before trial and even if they go to trial, grounds are almost always agreed to, rather than having to put on evidence that “he’s an asshole,” or “she’s a slut.” The attorneys agree that the parties are probably both right and therefore they are incompatible and move on to the real issues of the divorce: money (and sometimes the children, but mostly money).

But sometimes, the grounds for divorce can be pretty wild. All of the following are “basically” true divorce cases. I may have “doctored” them a wee bit, but I am allowed because, as I said above, I am a doctor.

For example, there is a case in Japan where a husband filed for divorce from his wife because she killed him. “What?” you ask. “How and why would someone who is dead file for divorce?”

Oh, ye of low-tech imagination. The wife didn’t kill him in real life. She hacked into his game of “Maple Story” (which I believe is a cyber-world, second life type of game) after she found that her husband’s avatar had unceremoniously dumped her avatar for another female’s avatar. (Got that?) Basically, the husband’s avatar was having a fake affair with someone else’s avatar so the wife knocked off her husband’s avatar. Yes, people have way too much time on their hands. Or, people are just pathetic.

The wife used a pirated software program to crack into the husband’s account and wiped out a year’s worth of work that the husband had done on his avatar. (I guess you have to be a total cyber-nerd to fully comprehend how awful this is in the cyber-world.) The wife is now facing felony charges in the real world. Call me crazy, but I think that the wife would have had a great case for divorce against the husband just based on the fact that the geek spent a year working on his stupid avatar!

I wonder if the husband is going to call an avatar coroner into court to testify about his “murder?”

Husband’s attorney:    Mr. Avatar Coroner, what did you find when you imaginarily arrived at the scene?

Avatar Coroner:           I imagine I found a dead avatar body but I am not sure because I wasn’t really there. And, I’m not real.

Husband’s attorney:    Mr. Avatar Coroner, can you identify the person who is presently sitting next to me, as the dead body that you found when you imaginarily arrived at the scene?

Avatar Coroner:           Yes, except this one is living.

Husband’s Attorney:    Mr. Avatar Coroner, did you do an autopsy on my client?

Avatar Coroner:           You idiot, I’m not real and even if I was, I wouldn’t do an autopsy on a real, living person!

Husband’s Attorney :   Mr. Avatar Coroner, did you take DNA samples at the scene?

Avatar Coroner:           Are you retarded?

Or how about the matter of Karen Finnegan v. Joseph Finnegan in Connecticut? In that case Karen filed for divorce against Joe who immediately filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the case. Joe claimed he was no longer married to Karen since he died, albeit temporarily, in 2004 when his heart stopped for a period of time until he was resuscitated. Joe asserted that Connecticut law provides that a marriage is terminated upon the death of one of the parties and, since he was clinically dead for a few seconds, his marriage was concluded in 2004.

It was a nice try but the court said, “No go” since he wasn’t permanently dead, as “death” is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary. Joe argued that the Merriam Webster definition of death did, however, accurately describe his wife in bed. His wife then shot and killed him in the courtroom and the case was over. No, that didn’t really happen. The court actually granted Karen a divorce. The final division of property and order of alimony probably made Joe wish he was dead, permanently.

In China, a woman returned home from a relatively lengthy trip to discover the family’s pet parrot repeating suspicious words such as “divorce” and “be patient” and felt her husband was having an affair and that she had grounds to file for divorce.

“Why,” you ask, “would the husband have an affair with a parrot?” Quite frankly, your questions are getting dumber and dumber. He wasn’t having an affair with a parrot. The parrot was merely a witness that the wife felt could provide proof of “grounds” for divorce.

The court wouldn’t let the bird testify, however, and threw the case out. The parrot told reporters that he had no intention of testifying anyway stating that he was a parrot, not a stool pigeon.

Believe it or not, this is not the only case where a parrot was the star witness. There have been several cases where the court permitted the bird to, in fact, testify, including a recent case in Argentina. In that case the bird was shown a picture of one of the woman with whom the wife claimed her husband was having an affair. Upon seeing the picture the parrot screeched “Honeybun, I love you.” The wife’s attorney was permitted to examine the bird on the witness perch and the bird recited several other incriminating statements, including statements alluding to the husband’s secretary who was allegedly extremely sexy! According to a trial transcript that doesn’t exist, the following exchange occurred between counsel and the bird:

Attorney:          Polly want a cracker?

Parrot:             Cracker my ass. Polly wants a peach like defendant’s secretary!! Va va voom. Look at that breast meat! Whatever she costs, put it on my bill!!

And, least we forget China’s poor Jian Feng who divorced his wife for being too ugly. He not only got a divorce but was also awarded $120,000 in damages. Apparently she never told him that her “outer” beauty was not a gift from Mother Nature but instead a gift from her parents who paid $100,000 for plastic surgery before she met Jian.

“Well, how did he finally learn of this fact?” you are undoubtedly finally intelligently asking.

He learned in perhaps the worst way possible. They had a child. But, not just any child. A truly butt ugly child. Jian testified that the baby was so ugly he was “horrified!” when he first saw the kid. That’s some kind of ugly. And don’t give me that baloney that all babies are beautiful. The judge gave Jian $120,000 to try to compensate for that amount of ugly. And this was in China where that amount of award is like 500 billion dollars here in the States! That is ugly to the bone.

I wonder if the father of that Kentucky clerk of court, Kim Davis, could bring a similar action here?