August 26, 2011

Divorce Pranks

Posted in Divorce tagged at 12:13 am by demetriagraves

Divorce pranks seem to be a growing trend, but unfortunately while it seems that they may make you feel better in the short term, the long-term consequences can be very damaging and it won’t help your case. There’s been a lot of recent media attention regarding a divorce prank carried out by Danny Larivière who was ordered to haul away the boulder he’d gleefully dumped on his ex-wife’s driveway just a day earlier. Plucked from a quarry and lugged by front-end loader in the dead of night, the 20-ton rock was spray-painted with fluorescent orange birthday wishes for “Isa,” then topped with a pink bow. “She never had a rock big enough for her tastes, now she has one,” was Mr. Larivière’s response. The prank has earned Mr. Larivière possible mischief and harassment charges – another ugly turn in his lengthy, acrimonious split from former wife Isabelle Prévost.

Couples who are going through a divorce process, often find it’s the worst time in their lives and sometimes the pressure gets to them and they do things they wouldn’t normally do. Like taking hammers and screwdrivers to a spouse’s car.  Another common prank is strewing their exes’ lawns with garbage or playing hide-and-seek with precious items. Or running up huge bills on joint credit cards.
While Mr. Larivière’s boulder stunt has been widely treated as a gag, the recipient rarely sees it that way. They see this as an invasion of privacy, or that their former spouse is unhinged, somehow. This story is a powerful example of how family litigation can leave an enduring legacy of bitterness, despite the outcome. This is not a joke – this was retribution, this was a public humiliation of the wife, despite the fact that the court case ended last year and the husband won joint custody.
So why do spouses do it? The party that is doing the pranks often feels like they are the victim. They’re not getting the vindication they’re looking for, especially in the division of assets. While pranks can bring temporary euphoria to the mischievous spouse, they can also have dire consequences for litigation and spousal support. All of these things typically backfire. They’ll look very bad to a judge, and I always urge my clients to take the high road. Divorce pranks should be avoided in all circumstances.
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