Divorce Talk: Wait! What?


January 27, 2020 by Peter C. Paras, Esq. Partner at Paras, Apy & Reiss. 

A few years ago a billboard prominently placed in Times Square read:

                                    “Hi Steven,

                                    Do I have your attention now?

                                    I know all about her, you dirty,

                                    sneaky, immoral, unfaithful,

                                    poorly-endowed slimeball.

                                    Everything’s caught on tape.

                                                Your (soon-to-be-ex) wife,

                                                Emily 

                                    p.s. I paid for this billboard

                                           from our joint bank account.”

The attention of commuters, tourists, and New Yorkers was captivated by this assault on decorum for days.  The media picked up the story and speculated about who Steven and Emily were. 

 And then, a few days later, it was revealed that this was a fictionalized marketing ploy by an ad agency charged with promoting a new television show.  It seemed so real, so believable – and that’s why it was so effective.  The billboard was certainly within the realm of bizarre behavior often exhibited by divorcing spouses. 

 The billboard wasn’t real, but these stories are.  One late afternoon I received a call from a client who had retained me a day or two before.  He explained that he had just gotten home from work and was sitting on the floor.  Why, I asked, was he telling me that? “It’s the only thing left”, he replied.  His wife had plotted to move out, lock, stock and barrel while he was at work. 

 Another client returned home from work one evening, opened his closet, and found the left sleeves of every garment he owned in a heap on the floor.  In a fit of anger, his wife let her sharp scissor do her talking. 

 And then there was “Hairless Joe.”  Joe had a side job that his wife knew about and benefitted from economically.  Joe made pornographic films and that was alright with his wife.  What wasn’t alright was when she returned home one afternoon to find him co-starring in his next film with two naked women.  The film, titled “Hairless Joe” because Joe shaved his head, was an asset, his wife claimed, that was subject to equitable distribution.  Joe argued that it wasn’t. 

 The Judge’s decision didn’t make anyone happy.  He decided that the film was, indeed, subject to the wife’s claim for equitable distribution, making Joe unhappy.  But then he found that the film had no value (after reviewing it in chambers several times), making both unhappy.

 Just last month, billionaire Harry Macklowe took a parting shot at his ex-wife, with whom he had recently gone through an acrimonious divorce.  He placed a 42-foot photo of his new fiancée and himself on New York City’s tallest apartment building, professing their love for each other.  There was no missing the portrait, nor his point.    

 In a Seinfeld episode, Elaine, during a conversation with Jerry, remarked, “People!”  Jerry responded, “Yeah, they’re the worst.”  People aren’t “the worst”, but people going through divorce can be.  Don’t be one of those people. No one can take your dignity from you, but you can give it away.  Don’t do it.           

 Peter C. Paras is a shareholder in the Family Law Firm of Paras, Apy & Reiss, P.C. For more information please see the firm’s website at www.par-law.com.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice.  For legal advice, you should consult your attorney.