Scorched Earth Divorce

I’m glad my ex and I did something different

Shefali O'Hara
4 min readAug 8, 2022


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We can read plenty of stories about messy celebrity divorces, such as that between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. While their divorce was finalized back in 2017, the drama between them still makes headlines.

Celebrity divorces aren’t the only ones that can destroy lives.

I have heard some horror stories from friends about divorce. Either their own, or that of one of their children.

An expensive mess of a divorce

One friend of mine told me about her daughter’s experience. The daughter’s husband repeatedly cheated on her. She tried counseling with him to try to salvage the marriage, but after several years of him continuing to cheat, she finally filed for divorce.

He became vindictive and vengeful.

The couple had two children. Instead of considering what impact the divorce was having on them, he hired an expensive lawyer and quit his job to avoid paying child support. She hired an expensive lawyer to counteract his tactics.

Between the two of them, they spent so much on the divorce that they both walked away deeply in debt. They spent over $60,000 apiece. That ate up all the equity they’d had in their house and then some.

My friend helped her daughter out so at least she is not in debt, but she and her children were left with nothing. The former son-in-law works jobs on the side for cash to avoid paying child support.

Yet divorces don’t have to be so messy.

Another friend tried mediation

A friend of mine who was an Air Force pilot is an example.

He and his wife had three children. When the wife filed for divorce, at first he was very angry and was thinking of going down the toxic route. But his mother talked him out of it.

“Think of your children,” she said.

The wife had already lawyered up, so he needed to get a lawyer as well, but he asked if they could first try mediation. They ended up using their lawyers to hammer out the final deal, but because most of their issues were resolved during mediation, the total cost of…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.