You are not alone in thinking that divorce is a bizarre experience that can stir all sorts of passions--and lead to crimes (this one being the latest). For over a decade, I've researched the bizarre ways in which people push the limits of the law (and sometimes even break it) during and after divorce. Here are some of the stories that made me groan and grin.
Cutting Up Assets with an Axe
After his wife had a relationship with a policeman in his Cambodian village, a man didn't want to wait for justice while divorcing. Instead, in 2008 he split up the martial home--literally--and moved half of it to his family's property. Luckily, it was made out of wood. The ex-wife is reported to be living in the standing half of the house they once shared.
In 2008, a Swedish man wished his relationship would go up in smoke. The unnamed man claims he was abducted by two men and taken to Germany, as reported by the Associated Press. Turns out he embarked on a European tour to clear his mind and get away from his troubled marriage. He came up with the kidnapping story to explain his absence to his wife -- who had since reported him missing. The runaway husband was charged with falsifying a crime.
Online Crimes of Passion
Getting divorced is an emotional experience--even if it happens in a virtual world. A Japanese woman got so angry when her virtual husband ditched her that she hacked the system to whack him.
According to Japanese police, the woman, who was jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used the man's identification and password in 2008 to log onto the Korean interactive game Maple Story to carry out the virtual hara kiri.
The woman was a 43-year-old piano teacher in Miyazaki, the man was a 33-year-old office worker in Sapporo. "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry," the virtual cougar told investigators.
Instead of remaining in the virtual world, and perhaps sending a monster after her avatar, the man went to the police when he discovered that his avatar was kaput.
The Japanese Honey Trap
Japanese husbands may want to cry "entrapment" over the practices of a company that hires professional seducers to help unhappy wives get rid of their husbands. In the U.S., you can just say sayonara to husbands who are belligerent, boorish or belching bores But in Japan, where women's rights are not highly valued, wives now see the value in using fetching women to lure their husbands, thus giving them the necessary grounds for divorce.
In one case in 2007, a husband was lured by a 20-year-old with overflowing cleavage who was armed with cameras disguised as a cigarette and pen. Later, when presented with the evidence, the embarrassed husband not only agreed to the divorce but agreed to favorable terms for the wife.
Soul Mate or Cell Mate?
A West Palm Beach court ruled in favor of a man attempting to cease alimony payments because his ex-wife was co-habitating -- with her cellmate. Andrew and Patricia Craissati's 2001 divorce agreement stated that Patricia would no longer receive her monthly $2,000 allowance if she remarried or co-habitated with a partner for more than three months. Patricia received a nine-year sentence for driving while intoxicated in 2005. Consequently, Andrew (and his attorney) took the term "cohabitation" literally, and attempted to cut Patricia off.
Is It Rape or Marriage?
Earlier this year, a 12-year-old Saudi girl won the right this year to divorce her 80-year-old husband in a case that many say may finally help introduce a minimum age of marriage in the kingdom for the first time.
As was reported, the young girl was married against her wishes to her father's elderly cousin last year. A dowry of 85,000 riyals (about $23,000) was paid and the marriage consummated.
Because the Prophet Muhammad married a 9-year-old girl, the marriages of child brides were justified in many parts of the kingdom. Since the story sparked international headlines, as well as scrutiny of child marriages, reform may be in the works. According to one report, the state-run Human Rights Commission is pushing for a legal minimum age for marriage of at least 16.
Most Innovative Way to Win A Case In Court
A woman in China said her husband couldn't get her son because she was still breast-feeding and with the tainted milk scandal making headlines in 2008, taking any child away would be a national threat. She won.
Crime of Passion
Money prompted Dr. Richard Sharpe to kill his wife. Fearful that he would lose part of his $4 million in assets after a divorce, Dr. Richard Sharpe, a cross-dressing Massachusetts dermatologist, shot his wife Karen in 2000 and was sentenced to life in prison. He committed suicide in 2009.
As crime reporter Diane Dimond points out, "These stories fascinate because we wonder what others are capable of. Many may have moments where they wish their spouse were dead but don't do it."
There are so many other eye-popping stories but these are just my favorite. Feel free to share yours.