Evolution of the Self

On the paradoxes of personality

The Wittiest Quotes on Divorce

Ironically, commentators have always found divorce fertile grounds for humor.

Image previewMany of the quotes below—cleverly poking fun at the whole institution of marriage—admittedly have an abrasive edge to them. We may laugh at their wry observations, yet not be entirely comfortable doing so. For when speakers and writers (who may well have been divorced themselves) talk about marital break-ups, they frequently betray a certain resentment, even bitterness. Despite the passage of time, somewhere below the surface they may continue to harbor ill feelings about what they had to go through.

In preparing this collection I ruled out many droll or humorous quotes that I saw as overly simplistic, sarcastic or cynical. Take, for example, these disdainful words from Jarod Kintz: “Divorce is the second worst event in a person’s life. The worst event, of course, is marriage.” Still, my final assortment does include its share of rather “dark,” scoffing marital/divorce humor. Despite the kernel of truth that I think infuses almost all of these selections, they do generally reveal a skepticism about marriage that at times borders on the acerbic. In addition, they regularly hold lawyers up to special, though comic, ridicule—for their opportunistic, mercenary (even predatory) practices. In fact, you’ll find quite a few of these quotes making a lot more fun of attorneys than their hapless clients.

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This quoting post, by the way, is sandwiched between my first one, “The Most Heartfelt Quotes on Divorce,” and my final one, “Celebrities on Divorce—And They Should Know.” Hopefully, you’ll find the present compilation both funny (occasionally even LOL) and not without a certain whimsical truth (however exaggerated) about the misfortune of marital break-ups:

Divorce is the psychological equivalent of a triple coronary bypass. ~ Mary Kay Blakely

I married Miss Right. I just didn’t know her first name was Always. ~ Unknown

My husband and I have never considered divorce. Murder sometimes, but never divorce. ~ Joyce Brothers

In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find and continue to find grounds for marriage. ~ Robert Anderson

Staying married may have long-term benefits. You can elicit much more sympathy from friends over a bad marriage than you ever can from a good divorce. ~ P.J. O'Rourke

“Bad divorce?" Hardy asked, his gaze falling to my hands. I realized I was clutching my purse in a death grip. “No, the divorce was great,” I said. “It was the marriage that sucked.” ~ Lisa Kleypas, Blue-Eyed Devil

Ah, yes, divorce . . . from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet.~ Robin Williams

A lawyer is never entirely comfortable with a friendly divorce, anymore than a good mortician wants to finish his job and then have the patient sit up on the table. ~ Jean Kerr

Whoever said Marriage is a 50-50 proposition laid the foundation for more divorce fees than any other short sentence in our language. ~ Austin Elliot

She cried—and the judge wiped her tears with my checkbook. ~ Tommy Manville

A divorce lawyer is a chameleon with a law book. ~ Marvin Mitchelson

Let's be blunt: If you hire a divorce lawyer today, there is a good chance you will hire a bankruptcy lawyer within two or three years. ~ Gene Meyer

Divorce lawyers stoke anger and fear in their clients, knowing that as long as the conflicts remain unresolved the revenue stream will keep flowing. ~ Craig Ferguson

In Palm Springs, they think homelessness is caused by bad divorce lawyers. ~ Garry Trudeau

The difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that a legal separation gives a husband time to hide his money. ~ Johnny Carson

My mother always said don't marry for money, divorce for money. ~ Wendy Liebman

Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand. ~ Shinichi Suzuki

Instead of getting married again, I'm just going to find a woman I don't like and give her a house. ~ Lewis Grizzard

You know why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it. ~ Henny Youngman

If you think you have trouble supporting a wife, try not supporting her. ~ Unknown

It was one of those ridiculous arrangements that couples make when they are separating, but before they are divorced—when they still imagine that children and property can be shared with more magnanimity than recrimination. ~ John Irving

You don't know a women till you've met her in court. ~ Norman Mailer

Americans, who make more of marrying for love than any other people, also break up more of their marriages, but the figure reflects not so much the failure of love as the determination of people not to live without it. ~ Morton Hunt

Nowadays love is a matter of chance, matrimony a matter of money, and divorce a matter of course. ~ Helen Rowland

Technology forced me to divorce a pixie and remarry a pixel. ~ Brian Celio

When two divorced people marry, four people get into bed. ~ Jewish Proverb

I try not to think of divorce as failing at marriage but rather winning at bitterness and resentment. ~ Unknown

I look at divorce this way: it’s better to have loved and lost, then to live with that bitch for the rest of my life. ~ Steve McGrew

Just another of our many disagreements. He wants a no-fault divorce, whereas I would prefer to have the bastard crucified. ~ J. B. Handelsman

I can’t get divorced because I’m a Catholic. Catholics don’t get divorced. They stay together through anger and hatred and festering misery, just like God intended. ~ Lenny Clarke

Divorces are made in heaven. ~ Oscar Wilde

Half of all marriages end in divorce—and then there are the really unhappy ones. ~ Joan Rivers

Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers. ~ Gerald F. Lieberman

If you made a list of reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a hell of a lot of overlapping. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn't a sign that they "don't understand" one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to. ~ Helen Rowland

[and last but hardly least . . .]

The only time my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers. ~ Woody Allen

Note 1: Here, again, are the links to part 1, "The Most Heartfelt Quotes on Divorce," and part 3, Celebrity Quotes on Divorce—And They Should Know."

Note 2: If you know of others who might appreciate the somewhat cynical humor of this post, please do share it with them. And if you'd like to check out other posts I've done for Psychology Today, please click here.

© 2012 Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

-----I invite readers to join me on Facebook and follow my miscellaneous musings on Twitter.

Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., who holds doctorates in English and Psychology, is a clinical psychologist and author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy.

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