Valerie Chin came in alone, ten minutes early for her scheduled appointment, and we helped her draw up divorce papers. It was entirely professional, typical, and easy to navigate. She and her husband had wed four years earlier, their relationship had changed, they’d grown apart, marriage wasn’t what they had expected, they’d never really discussed their expectations, etc. It was a very straight-forward “irreconcilable differences.”

And then we began to discuss the assets.

They lived in a rented apartment, it was rented in her name. They had one car, it was bought in her name. They had significant debt, it was all accrued in his name. And she was pregnant.

It took us several months to realize but, this woman had very cleverly done the following:

  1. Met this man she considered the perfect genetic person to father the child she desperately wanted.
  2. Seduced him, dated him entirely through college, started their adult lives together, convinced him to move to the city where she wanted to raise her child (alone), and eventually accepted his marriage proposal.
  3. Slowly throughout the course of their relationship and marriage, shifted all debt she had ever incurred – including nearly a hundred thousand dollars in student loans – into his name.
  4. Had a dream wedding!
  5. Spent three years trying to get pregnant, using his funds for some very expensive procedures when it didn’t happen right away.
  6. Filed for divorce four months into her pregnancy and declined to tell him until she returned home the day of her appointment with us with the papers.

She now shares custody of her 4-year old daughter with her ex-husband who was so genial and understanding through the divorce that it was almost as though he was on board for this unspoken agreement the entire time.

The whole situation felt very Gone Girl.