Without question, Ira and Janice Schacter have had a bitter and costly divorce. Seven years passed between the initial petition for divorce and the decree of dissolution, and over a million dollars have been paid to lawyers. They fought over everything—custody, child support, alimony, property distribution, and attorneys’ fees. This was perhaps not surprising, since the divorce court observed that during nineteen years of marriage, “they were never happy.” But this does not make them unique among divorcing couples. Although the trial judge observed that this “acrimonious divorce action presented one of the most contentious litigations this court has ever presided over,” many couples fight over the same things—or would, if they could afford the financial and emotional costs of protracted litigation.
This divorce, however, was in the news. (Thanks to Hofstra Law student Hersh Parekh for bringing it to my attention when we were studying property distribution in family law.) And the publicity itself became the subject of a new legal battle: If the wife pilloried her husband in the press, reducing his ability to attract clients, should her share of the marital property be reduced? In a recent ruling, in Ira S. v. Janice S.
Joanna L. Grossman,
The High Price of Badmouthing One’s Spouse During Divorce VERDICT
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