Monday, March 3, 2008

The King of South America

As a quick post today, I’d like to share with you a story a friend of mine told me a couple of years ago. I will not say how the friend found out about this incident, as I am attempting to keep everyone’s identities confidential. Those of you involved in the legal profession will especially appreciate the absurdity of this whole situation, though I think it will be similarly obvious to those of you not involved in the practice of law.

This story came from a family law attorney. Let’s call her Jane. (*All names have been changed to protect the innocent or otherwise unassuming.*) One of the first cases Jane ever encountered was a divorce here in Utah. Jane represented the husband in the divorce. Let’s call him John.

By way of a little background here, Utah is not a community property state. What this means is, while all states have different laws pertaining to divorce, in Utah, if you have been married a short amount of time, you take out of the divorce what you came into the marriage with.

John told Jane that the reason he was employing her is because he had walked in on his wife, (we’ll call her Mary), and her future divorce attorney, (we’ll call him Tom), in bed together in John and Mary’s house. John and Mary had been married three weeks. Jane contacted Tom and indicated that it would probably be in everyone’s best interest to just walk away from the marriage with what they came into it with. Tom actually had the nerve to write back to Jane, on behalf of his “client” Mary, and demand the following from John:

1. $2,000.00 per month for LIFE in alimony (as far as I know, whose life was not defined)
2. One half of John’s retirement
3. John to buy Mary a house which would be paid for in full by John

As if this wasn’t enough of an insult, Tom then promised that in return, Mary would do the following:

1. Let John keep his kids from a previous marriage (as if she would have any chance of getting custody of HIS kids)
2. Make John the king of any South American country except for Guatemala. (I’m really not kidding, this was a promise made.)

Being such a ridiculous proposal, Jane did not believe any attorney would put such a thing in writing. She was dismayed to find that Tom was absolutely, 100% serious with the proposal. How did it all end, you wonder? Well, Tom proved to be crazy enough that the entire proceeding lasted 18 months. The good news is that John was able to get an annulment instead of a divorce, so custody of his kids was never a question (not that it really was to begin with, but still…) Oh, and Jane was required to testify at Tom’s disbarment hearing.

And, as a final bit to the story, those of you who are LDS or aware of what is involved with the LDS religion will appreciate this. Apparently Tom and Mary were reading Tom’s patriarchal blessing while they were being intimate in bed. (I’m not LDS, so I’m not really 100% sure what that is, except I believe the patriarchal blessing is believed by church members to be a direct revelation from God. I found a quote from former Church President Ezra Taft Benson: “A patriarchal blessing is the inspired and prophetic statement of your life’s mission together with blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give.” Nope, still don’t have a clue what that means, but it’s obviously very, very bad to read it while in bed with someone else’s wife. For those of you who are interested here’s information from Wikipedia.) John found the patriarchal blessing and sent it to Tom’s bishop with a letter of explanation as to how John came in possession of it. Needless to say, I’m sure none involved have been the same since.

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