Fatal Attraction

By Bob Hirschfeld

Now that the final decree has been signed, let me tell you about a case that's in the public record in Marcopa County (AZ) Superior Court. It came to be known as the "Fatal Attraction" divorce case on the 6th floor of the courthouse. Mrs. P, a college professor, became aware that Mr. P, also a college professor, had become involved with Ms. X, also a college professor.

Among the things Mrs. P did:

* Suggestively answered EVERY male singles ad in one issue of the local Singles paper, on behalf of Ms. X, resulting in a barrage of leering telephone calls to Ms. X.

* Smashed Mr. P's windshield leaving the following note on the driver's seat (I can reveal this because it's an exhibit publicly available in the divorce):

"Do you remember the movie `Fatal Attraction?' The boiled rabbit, the vandalized car, the suicide attempt? Remember these things and think of our love."
* There were, unbeknownst to each other, cross-petitions for Domestic Violence Orders of Protection, resulting in the judge unwittingly granting exclusive use of the family residence to *each party* in separate orders. When an emergency hearing was held to sort this out, the judge became so incensed that he uttered a pox on both of them, refused to rule, and urged them each to get a running start to see who could take possession of the house first. Mr. P arrived home earlier, changed the locks. Mrs. P later attempted to have a locksmith change the locks while Mr. P was barricaded in the house. The Seige went on for nearly a week.

* Forged Mr. P's signature to a huge promissory note payable to Mrs. P's elderly mother. (It cost $500 for a handwriting expert to refute the signature during the property division phase of the trial.) The expert amused the court by pointing out that the forger had initially misspelled the signature, then had gone back and corrected it.

* Charged huge quantities of unnecessary items to the community charge accounts, and ran up other unfounded bills payable by Mr. P, during the pendency of the divorce.

* Mrs. P refused to work during the divorce proceedings, and was given a temporary division of the community income, with a requirement that she prove what she was doing to seek employment. When Mrs. P was found to have greater earning power than Mr. P (higher degrees) in the final trial, she was denied a permanent spousal maintenance order. So she angrily fired her lawyer, and was able to delay the signing of the final decree for many months thereafter by various objections, thereby keeping up the temporary flow of money from her husband and, of course, also delaying his marriage to Ms. X.

I was Mr. P's lawyer in the "Fatal Attraction" divorce case. Mr. P paid his bill. Mrs. P probably never will pay her lawyer.

Angry woman? This mild mannered, tweed-jacketed, pipe-puffing professor has had nightmares of her popping up again, even though the final decree was at last signed recently. Not from being drowned in a bathtub, as in the movie, but surely from somewhere, to carry on the movie's plot.

Thank heavens, there were no minor children in this case.

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