The Most Outrageous Divorce Clauses Ever Written

The Most Outrageous Divorce Clauses Ever Written

by Monica Sanders, October 2009

There are all kinds of divorce clauses: clauses to keep quiet, clauses to pay an escalating portion of one's future earnings, and even clauses that some might consider the most extreme - those that mandate therapy. Hollywood seems to be the source of endless fodder. In fact, it's not unusual to find all sorts of written clauses so that an ex will keep quiet about the nasty details of the marriage until the day they die...or perhaps get a more lucrative book deal. Britney as well as former Beatle Paul McCartney have both opted for gag clauses in the hopes of muzzling their former spouses.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg when money and fame are involved. Whether you're a Puerto Rican pop princess or a Russian mogul, its always better when its in writing.

Here's a look at the most outrageous divorce settlement clauses ever written:

Musical Extremes

Jennifer Lopez has been accused of all kinds of diva-like behavior over the years, all white décor from the flowers to the couches to the candy. Before she married singer Marc Anthony, you can bet she had a hand in the terms of his divorce from former wife Dayonara Torres. Beyond merely deciding on custody of their three children and on who would get the house, Ms. Torres had to sign an agreement that forbade her from speaking ill of J-Lo. Essentially, the former Mrs. Anthony could be sued for saying bad things about the current Mrs. Anthony.

Although Ms. Torres seemingly ended up on the wrong side of the fence, ex-wives can and do end up on top. Before the legendary Marvin Gaye could end his marriage to Anna Gordy, he had to sign a clause agreeing to turn over the profits from two albums. Unfortunately, one of those albums went on to become a collector's item known as "Here, My dear."

No matter which portion of the music industry you occupy, divorces can be a messy business. Violinist Lucy Lin divorced well-know Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart after she discovered he was straying. Her payback? Their professional pairing would come to an end as well. Lockhart even had to sign a settlement agreement that would keep him from conducting any performance in which she was playing - ever.

Clauses that Hit Home

Although these clauses may seem extreme, unusual separation clauses have been around for centuries. Before King Louis XII could be granted an annulment from his wife, she had to agree to spend the rest of her days in a convent. Talk about bad end of the deal.

Civilian Divorce can get ugly too

Of course, these extreme measures still happen amongst civilians too. One New York woman would not agree to end her marriage until her husband agreed to a special clause about their home. He had to agree that she would inherit half the house when he died, even if he re-married or if she re-married.

Even more costly clauses

One of the costliest clauses in history comes from someone who you think would have known better, William O. Douglas. In 1954, he divorced his first wife. Her lawyer inserted in the divorce settlement an escalator clause whereby the more money Douglas made from his books and lectures, the more he had to give her in alimony...essentially putting him on a financial treadmill. She never remarried. He eventually found a way around part of his problem by employing a ghostwriter.

As much as the Douglas divorce cost, two upcoming ones could cost even more. British millionaire John Charmon settled his divorce for 48-million pounds, the largest in UK history. He is appealing the court's decision, and more negotiations could be in the future. Russian mogul Roman Abramovich's divorce from his flight attendant wife could run into the billions of dollars.

The Therapy Clause

A more recent development in divorce clause may sound out-of-the-ordinary, but is becoming an increasingly popular final stipulation to any messy divorce. An increasing number of couples are inserting therapy clauses. Many of these clauses call for family therapy and sessions for any children involved in the divorce. Others require the husband and wife to see a professional during and after the divorce to ensure it ends as amicably as possible. A little unusual, but considering how nasty some of history's divorces have ended, not without merit.


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