When divorce gets dirty

When divorce gets dirty

There's nothing pretty about a marriage ending, but some people take it to the next level by getting downright vindictive.

Ankita Varma gets women, lawyers and private investigators to spill about the most vengeful exes they've encountered.

*Names have been changed.

"When my husband and I were separated and filing for divorce, I moved out of our marital home and went to live with my parents. Until the divorce and custody arrangements were finalised, my six year-old daughter would stay with me on weekdays and see her dad only on weekends. My husband was fighting to have the custody arrangement reversed, even though he worked longer hours than I did.

Emotions were rife and my husband wanted to make it seem like I was a bad parent. Every weekend, he would take our daughter to see the doctor for the most insignificant things - a minor graze she got when she fell at the playground, the tiniest of bruises, a slight increase in temperature.

Once, he even had her warded in hospital on Sunday night for 'suspected dengue' (the doctors later said she had a common cold) so that he wouldn't have to send her home to me. He would also photograph every 'injury' and call me out about my 'bad parenting' when he saw me.

Thankfully, the judge eventually ruled in my favour for the custody arrangement, saying that his evidence of poor parenting was wildly exaggerated."

- Sarah*, 38, nurse

"My husband and I had been married for 10 years. In the last three years of our marriage, we fought over the smallest things - from the television being too loud to dirty dishes in the sink. You could say the love was long gone.

One night, while overseas on a work trip, I met a handsome man at the bar of the hotel I was staying in. We talked and after a few drinks, started flirting with each other. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the attention. Many times during the evening, he reached over to stroke my hair or hold my hand. We stayed at the bar for four hours, and before we left, he hugged me and unexpectedly gave me a kiss. I didn't take it any further and went up to my room.

Unfortunately, my husband's friend happened to be staying in the same hotel and had taken some incriminating photographs of me throughout the night - which he forwarded to my husband.

When I got home three days later, I discovered that my husband had printed and mailed these photos to my parents, colleagues and boss. He also used them as evidence that I was being unfaithful when he filed for a divorce a month later.

I was horrified. Since I was travelling on business when the photographs were taken, I had to have a humiliating conversation with my company's human resources department and was suspended from work for a week while the case was being investigated.

To make matters worse, he started hanging around the lobby of my workplace and the void deck of my parents' home on and off for a week after he sent the photos. He talked to some of my colleagues and neighbours, spreading lies about my 'illicit affairs.' I eventually lodged a police complaint and got a personal protection order against him.

Even though I know I shouldn't have flirted with another man, his actions were so vindictive that it nearly cost me my job and my relationships with my family and friends. We divorced shortly after."

- Jessica*, 46, client manager

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