As a Rhode Island lawyer, I focus my practice on divorce and family law and I can tell you that I see this kind of thing all the time though I refuse to partake in it. Some women who feel scorned however will use any information they receive from friends, family, lawyers, etc... to exact any amount of pain and or retribution they can from their spouse regardless of the consequences to their actions to their spouse, to their spouse's family, to their children and sometimes even surprisingly to themselves.
Since I like using analogies and stories that I have seen in practice, a practical example here will help.
Pam's relationship with her husband Jerry has broken down. She isn't quite sure why although the tell-tale signs seem to be there. He is frequently working late. When he comes home there is little or no communication between him and his wife. Usually, he doesn't stay home long but leaves to go do something or claims (at the age of 48 to be going out to play Dungeons & Dragons with his group of buddies). Yes, some true stories are odder than fiction. Jerry, however, seems to have some strange fetish for Pam's oldest daughter Casey who is 31 years old and lives the next town over because he is always going over to see her. Or. . . at least this is what Pam discovers later on.
Pam sees the marriage breaking down and she can't live like this anymore so she tells Jerry. Jerry immediately moves out, takes a few of his choicest possessions and goes to stay with his mom and dad for a bit. Pam suspects that something is going on but isn't sure what.
The police show up at Pam's doorstep not long after and ask if she has any knowledge about Jerry's activities. Pam is confused. The police officer's badge says "Narcotics Division". Pam is worried. After a few questions, Pam learns they are looking into Jerry and his possible sales of heroin to minors. Pam is aware that her daughter Casey once had some issues with drugs in her early years.
Pam is very upset and speaks with Casey who tells her mother that she is addicted to heroin and that her husband Jerry is not only an addict but has also been dealing heroin for more than a year.
Pam speaks with her Rhode Island divorce lawyer who indicates to her that since Jerry still has a good job then she has the opportunity to get alimony through her divorce but that her claim may now be at risk because of Jerry's activities.
Pam says that she wants all the assets because Jerry is dealing drugs even though she has no proof that Jerry is a dealer or is even addicted.
Pam asks her lawyer about what happens to alimony if Jerry goes to jail. Pam's divorce lawyer simply asks her a question.
Lawyer: Pam, Do you think he can pay you any alimony if he is in jail?
Lawyer: Then do you think it's in your best interests to have Jerry put in jail when you are making a claim for alimony?
Pam is very upset and now believes that the drugs are the reason for the divorce. She is furious and lets the narcotics officers search the house and gather any information they want on Jerry. Pam becomes an informant for them on Jerry's activities and wants to prove how bad Jerry is, make him regret he ever did this and have him pay for life.
Jerry is arrested and is caught red-handed with enough drugs to float a barge. Jerry is held without bail and the district attorney isn't offering any deals. There is virtually no doubt that Jerry will be going to prison for quite some time thanks to Pam's assistance.
Pam feels vindicated. Pam now wants all the assets and for him to pay alimony.
Jerry has lost his job and whatever money he has made has either been spent or disappeared.
Jerry has no ability to pay alimony in the eyes of the court, but after a conference with counsel and the family court judge it's the consensus that since the drugs did not affect the value of the existing assets that Jerry is still entitled to a portion of them even if Pam should receive a bit more because Jerry has been supporting her for more than 10 years.
Pam is outraged. Her attorney gets her about 80% of the assets in a settlement. Pam is upset because it just isn't enough in her eyes.
Pam dug a whole here. Her anger and her desire to get retribution for a horrible wrong that the wanted to put right caused Jerry to end up in jail sooner than he might have. Pam's cooperation and action with the law enforcement authorities could have been delayed until her divorce was completed or might have provided her with leverage against her husband to get 100% of the assets.
There are lots of pitfalls here and lots of things to consider. The point here is that Pam took action that was clearly detrimental to her divorce claims. Parties who go to trial rarely, if ever, get 100% of the marital assets awarded by a judge. The more realistic number is 60% if there is wrongdoing involved by one party.
Pam was not happy even though she should be. She got more in the divorce than the vast majority of all women who go through the Rhode Island Divorce process. The chances that Pam might have received more are very slim.
However, if there was any chance to get more than 80% of the assets from the marital estate it was lost when Pam ensured that Jerry went to jail before her divorce was completed. Pam lost site of her own financial best interests in order to feel vindicated.
This is not uncommon for this to occur with a man or a woman yet I see it more frequently with women who feel wronged in a marriage.
Rule of thumb would be to listen to your divorce lawyer. You can't expect to get the results you hope to achieve if you act against your own best interests and then expect your lawyer to repair the damage you've done and get you what you want in the end.