Conventional wisdom has it that bad conduct doesn’t really matter in an equitable division case except to the extent that it has a financial impact. Tell that to Donna Wolcott.
One night in 2006, while Mr. Wolcott was ill and in a “weakened state,” Mrs. Wolcott plied her usually-abstinent husband with alcohol, causing him to fall off a boat. Mr. Wolcott had to swim a mile to shore and walk for several hours before he got help. The fall caused him severe injuries – a broken nose, upper jaw and wrist, four broken teeth, and a “blown-out knee.” Then, when he returned home, Mrs. Wolcott forced her injured husband to sleep on the couch because his “breathing” bothered her. Shortly afterwards, while he was still recovering, Mrs. Wolcott asked him to move out of the house.
Mrs. Wolcott’s next action suggests that, even though her husband was now out of the house, she was still bothered by his breathing. In fact, she proceeded to solicit his murder, telling a cousin she wanted Mr. Wolcott to “disappear” and asking him if he knew anyone in the Mafia. Luckily for Mr. Wolcott, the cousin demurred. The husband was spared the bullet.
Mrs. Wolcott’s lesser offenses – an adulterous “sexual affair,” a “foolhardy landscaping plan,” and $24,000 worth of unnecessary plastic surgery.
Not surprisingly, the judge wasn’t enamored with the sociopathic Mrs. Wolcott and awarded her only 10% of the marital estate. She appealed and the Appeals Court affirmed the decision. Wolcott v. Wolcott, 2011 Mass.App LEXIS 16 (January 6, 2011).