Duke and Rob Riley are suing my wife, this blog, and me, claiming that my reporting on certain topics is false and defamatory. But court filings suggest that Liberty Duke's misconduct, of some sort, precipitated her divorce and put her in a weak bargaining position.
William Joseph Duke initiated the divorce on February 27, 2006, and the case was over in roughly five weeks--even though the couple was married 14 years, had two children, and owned a home. The husband filed the case in Talladega County, even though the couple lived in Chilton County. Talladega is known as an Alabama jurisdiction where divorces can be obtained quickly, and court filings are likely to be kept away from prying eyes in the home county.
A divorce agreement the couple reached illustrates the weak position in which Liberty Duke found herself. (See the full document at the end of this post.) Consider what happened with the Dukes' house, from the agreement:
2.1 Real Estate
2.1.1--The parties jointly own real estate located at 1155 County Road 368, Verbena, AL 36091 (the House.) The Wife will convey to the Husband all of her right, title, and interest in the House by quitclaim deed. The Husband will have all rights to escrow account. Until August 31, 2006, the Wife will reside in the House and pay all expenses related to the House, including without limitation the mortgage. On or before such date, the Wife will vacate the House. After the Wife vacates, the Wife's obligation to pay the expenses of the House will stop.
We don't know how much the Dukes had invested in the house, but Liberty Duke gave up her share.
Did she make it up on alimony? Not exactly:
Both the Husband and the Wife waive any and all right to receive periodic alimony, past, present, and future.
On top of that, Liberty Duke got stuck with a major chunk of the household debt:
3. Marital Obligations
3.1.1--The Wife will be responsible for all credit card debts of the marriage and will hold the Husband harmless from any liability arising from indebtedness related to the said accounts.
As for the children, the couple agreed to share joint legal and physical custody, with the kids' primary residence being with Liberty Duke. William Duke agreed to pay $703 a month in child support, but the overall document gives the impression he could have gotten away without paying anything. One assumes, and hopes, that he cares enough for his kids to not go that route--no matter what issues he might have with their mother.
Court papers from Talladega County in 2006 indicate Liberty Duke sure did something that ticked off her ex husband--and she paid for it dearly.