The average divorce in the United States costs about $15,000 in legal fees, not to mention any money or alimony that must be paid to former spouses. However, a few years ago, our office handled one of the most expensive divorces in the county, and in the state.
The husband in the case was an orthopedic surgeon, and while he made good money, he came from a family with modest means. The wife, on the other hand, was the daughter of energy tycoon and never worked a day in her life. You know the type, right? Went to Ole Miss, hair always sprayed into perfect place? Can smell her overpriced perfume from 10 feet away? That’s her. The two met in college, had two kids, and were married for 13 years before calling it quits. The wife is the one that filed, claiming inconceivable differences, but we all know that she was having an affair with her trainer. Because the two were brought up in very religious homes —ones that would rather have unhappy, destructive marriages rather than divorces — they did not sign a prenuptial agreement.
So, when the wife decides she wants to continue see the trainer and get rid of her workaholic husband, she states that she is entitled to half of his earnings because she “supported him financially and emotionally” through medical school. The husband was absolutely not having it, and he hired an entire legal team from our office to fight her. Things got messier with two young children involved and the wife demanding alimony even though she has a hefty inheritance and the kids would only be with her half of the time (the other half with their father). Another complication was the properties the two owned, which included a house in Buncombe and a lakeside house in Myrtle Beach.
Both parties had their arguments of why they should get more. The husband said the wife broke their marital vows by sleeping with her trainer (although she denied it until the trainer was subpoenaed and confessed to the affair), while the wife claimed that her husband had made little time for his family and often chose work over being at home and spending time with their kids. These arguments went on for nearly two years, and it got pretty ugly with old emails and text messages brought in for evidence. Through that evidence, we learned that the husband was likely having an emotional affair with an old girlfriend from high school. Neither party would be down, and the divorce was the constant topic of gossip in the community.
Finally, after two years, the husband caved and gave the wife both properties along with monthly alimony payments, while the wife dropped the demand for half of his earnings. The rumor was that he was planning to move out of state to be with the old girlfriend and start a practice somewhere else.
When it was all done, between both parties, the divorce cost about a quarter of a million dollars. Yikes!