Clara Louisa and William Middleton were married for fifteen years. Unfortunately for them, only ten of those years were worth remembering. At the ten-year mark things started to sour and Clara Louisa began running around with one of the stable hands.
At the divorce trial, she claimed William killed her dog and her horse. He claimed Clara Louisa was an adulterer. Although there were mounds of circumstantial evidence supporting Williams’ claim of adultery, there was no direct evidence that Clara Louisa did anything other than spend lots of time with the groomsman. This was one of the reasons litigation between the Middletons dragged on for so long. The other reason was that both Clara Louisa’s and William’s families had lots of money to spend on litigation. But in the end William prevailed.
Clara Louisa’s children were taken away from her, and she was ordered to stay away from them until they became adults. She also lost her fortune and her upstanding reputation. Local society members could forgive a good Catholic woman for having an affair. What was unforgivable was a woman with social standing interacting with — let alone sleeping with – a man whose job was breeding horses.
Under current North Carolina law, custody determinations are supposed to be based on what the judge decides is in the best interest of the children. Unless there is showing that a parent’s adultery adversely impacted the child, then it should have no bearing on whether or not they are fit to have custody.
Excerpt from Divorces from Hell Copyright (c) 1995 by Jacqueline D. Stanley
Photo Credit: Visual Hunt