Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rich wife complains on YouTube

A New York AP story reports:
NEW YORK (AP)  -- We're the YouTube Generation, living in the YouTube Era, in a YouTube World. And now we apparently have a YouTube Divorce.

Some prominent New York divorce lawyers couldn't think of another case where a spouse -- in this instance, the wife of a major Broadway theater operator -- had taken to YouTube to spill the secrets of a marriage in an apparent effort to gain leverage and humiliate the other side.

Watch the Video (YouTube)

``This is absolutely a new step, and I think it's scary,'' said Bonnie Rabin, a divorce lawyer who has handled high-profile cases. ``People used to worry about getting on Page Six (the gossip page of the New York Post.) But this? It brings the concept of humiliation to a whole new level.''

In a tearful and furious YouTube video with close to 150,000 hits to date, former actress and playwright (``Bonkers'') Tricia Walsh-Smith lashes out against her husband, Philip Smith, president of the Shubert Organization, the largest theater owner on Broadway. ...

``I don't think it's the kind of thing people should be doing, and it's the kind of thing judges frown upon,'' said Norman Sheresky, a partner in the matrimonial law firm Sheresky Aronson Mayesfsky & Sloan, which Walsh-Smith mentions in her video.
As well as I can figure out, her biggest complaint is that she regrets signing a prenuptial agreement that only leaves her $750,000. She had married a rich man who was 25 years older, and now she wants more money. Also, she complains that she did not get enough sex.

I think that last comment from the divorce lawyer is a little strange. Divorce lawyers commonly do everything they can to publicly embarrass the other spouse in open court, and judges do everything to encourage it. When my ex-wife was represented by Jennifer Gray, a lawyer at the local firm Bosso Williams, she filed all sorts of personal and embarrassing public accusations with the court, including gripes about our sex life. Many of the accusations served no legal purpose at all, except to attempt to humiliate me. Ms. Gray even told me that she was going to make the complaints public unless I paid her a whole bunch of money.

No family court judge ever expressed any disapproval of her making these public and irrelevant accusations.

The divorce lawyer in the story seems to be suggesting that the family court judge is going to watch the YouTube video, be annoyed that the wife is telling her story outside of court, and punish her financially for the video. If so, that judge would be violating several ethical rules. Judges are supposed to rule based on evidence presented in court, not YouTube videos. Even if the judge had some personal disapproval of the wife telling her story on YouTube, he has no authority to punish her for it. She has a right to tell her story. The whole idea that some judge would try to punish some woman for telling her story is offensive. It is just more evidence that family court judges have too much power, and exercise that power too arbitrarily.

No comments: