You probably think your divorce had some outrageous aspects, but–with half or more of all marriages ending in divorce–the odds are that others are odder. Here are a few divorces that present aspects so bizarre they’re in a league all of their own.
Always Read the Gift Return Policy
Marital property must be divided; separate property–the stuff you owned before you married–belongs only to you. It isn’t unusual for one spouse to request the return of items of separate property left in the house. But Dr. Richard Batista, a surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center carried it to an extreme when he demanded the return of his kidney–donated during the marriage to his wife Dawnell because she was dying of kidney failure. As an alternative, he demanded the cost of a kidney on the black market, some $1.5 million.
Little Parrots Have Big Ears
Some spouses hire detectives to track down infidelity; others rely on their feathered friends. In an early case, James Reynolds filed for a divorce when his parrot began calling him abusive names, claiming that its teacher had to be his wife. The judge declined to accept the bird as a witness given the problems putting it under oath. But that didn’t stop others from trying. In 2005, Frank Ficker’s wife searched the house when her parrot began repeating the name, Uta. She discovered two tickets to Paris, one in her husband’s name, one in the name of his mistress, Uta. Divorce soon followed. And in 2006, a divorce court in Argentina accepted testimony by a parrot about Carlos DeGambos’ infidelities. When the parrot looked at photos of Carlos’ lovely secretary Ruby, it squawked: “Who loves Carlos? Ruby loves Carlos. Ruby loves her baby.”
Internet Anonymity’s Dark Side
Trial separations can be useful when couples are deciding whether to keep working on their marriage or go their own ways. But things don’t always work out as planned. A Jordanian couple named Bakr and Sanaa Melhem was partway through a seven-month separation when Bakr got lonely, so he went online under a different name and met Jamilia, also in an unsatisfying marriage. The two clicked. As they planned their future together, Bakr complained about his “cold, emotionless bitch” of a wife and Jamilia regaled him with descriptions of her shockingly unendowed husband. When the cybering couple finally had their first date, both parties were shocked when Jamilia turned out to be Bakr’s wife, Sanaa. A divorce action was quickly filed.
Something There Is That Does Not Love a Wall
Chana and Simon Taub couldn’t stand living with each other, but neither would agree to move out of their marital home despite the urging of their New York divorce court judge. Frustrated, he ordered them to build a wall right down the middle. Chana was given the top floor and the second-floor kitchen; Simon was confined to the living room and the second-floor dining room. The kitchen was barricaded on both sides. As it turned out, the jury rejected Chana’s proof in the fault-based divorce, so the walled-in couple’s divorce case was tossed out of court.