Comical Case Names: Terrible v. Terrible

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Somewhat surprisingly, there is nothing else funny about the opinion itself, but it still qualifies for the Comical Case Names PageTerrible v. Terrible, 534 P. 2d 919 (Nev. 1975).

The parties had been divorced in 1971 after a proceeding I assume was also entitled Terrible v. Terrible (hereinafter “Terrible I“). The marital assets included some property with a house on it. While married, the Terribles were “joint tenants,” which means each of them had an undivided right to the whole property; for example, one couldn’t sell the property or any part of it without the other’s consent. The divorce decree provided, however, that the parties would be tenants in common, which means each of them had an undivided one-half interest. That basically means one tenant can sell his or her half-interest without consent, but has no right to sell the whole thing.

A year later, somebody offered to buy the Terrible property, and Mr. Terrible wanted to accept. The former Mrs. Terrible did not, and Mr. Terrible filed this case (hereinafter “Terrible II“) to “partition his interest.” Ordinarily, a tenant in common has every right to do that, but here Mr. Terrible was screwed because, the court held, he had waived this right by agreeing to let Mrs. Terrible stay put. Terrible II, 534 P.2d at 921.

This is much like the way in which you waived the right to complain about that not being funny by continuing to read after I warned you it would not be.

There are no other divorce cases on the Comical Case Names list at the moment, although there must be many candidates out there. There is a decent list of some good domestic-law cases included at the end of this post, which was about a couple who have sued each other at least 28 times since their divorce more than a decade ago. (Both of them are law professors.)

Thanks to David Goodwin for spotting the Terrible case.