Sex and Spreadsheets Don’t Mix…Divorce in California

If you have been avoiding the horrendous real news this past week and, like us, have instead been reading less depressing nonsense stories online, you are almost guaranteed to have come across the story of the man who made a spreadsheet of his wife’s sexual refusals. If not, you’re missing out (see link below).

Briefly, a husband used a spreadsheet to document whether his wife consented to sex or refused and gave an “excuse,” examples of which included “‘I’m too drunk and I ate too much’” and “‘I’m watching the show’ (Friends re-run).” According to the story, he then emailed her a copy of the spreadsheet as she was leaving on a business trip to make the point that she turned him down too often. He then refused to answer her calls. In response, she posted the spreadsheet online.

Did she say to ‘Ctrl S’ or ‘Control Sex’?

Now, whether you side with the husband or the wife (or neither), the whole story begs a major question: Why not just get divorced?

 California is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that, unlike in Masterpiece Theater literary adaptations, neither spouse is required by law to collect or present evidence of “grounds” like adultery, abandonment, or cruelty for requesting their divorce from the court. Instead, parties seeking a dissolution of marriage (which is what the court calls divorce) only need to plead “irreconcilable differences.” Per the Family Code, irreconcilable differences are simply “substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.” 

Because you don’t have to prove grounds for the divorce, there’s no need for Microsoft-fueled data collection. And even if you did end up having to go to court, no judge is going to be interested in your database of sexual refusals. It just isn’t legally necessary or relevant for either party to be the “good guy” or the “bad guy.”  

We obviously don’t personally know the parties involved in the spreadsheet story. However, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to assume that if their relationship has degenerated to the point of one spouse keeping a spreadsheet of the other’s perceived misdeeds and giving the silent treatment, while the other spouse responds by making their private business into a very public internet story, that maybe, JUST MAYBE, they shouldn’t be married anymore.

 So if you’re in a marriage that has degenerated to the point where one of you is keeping tabs using Excel, PowerPoint, or any other Microsoft Office program, you may have reached the point of irreconcilable differences. Divorce is no fun, but it has a clear endpoint. Holding on to grudges and slights does not. When you’re ready, please consult with a family law attorney to ensure that your interests are protected. But please, save the spreadsheets for accounting.

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