In “The Twelfth Of Never,” episode 206 of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Betty does whatever she can to build her arsenal before heading into court to battle Dan for what she believes she rightfully deserves out of their settlement, while Dan handily beats her back at every turn.
A Little Help From Some New Friends
Upon her release from jail, Betty is approached by a journalist who would like to tell her side of the story—an offer she can’t refuse, especially if the piece could be published before the settlement hearing. She then attends a meeting of a group dedicated to abolishing “legal tyranny” where she meets Samantha, a divorcee who offers Betty advice and moral support. Bolstered by these two new sources of support, Betty decides to represent herself in court.
The First Blow
On the first day of the hearing, Dan’s lawyer requests that the court to be closed to the public, which would mean that both the reporter and Samantha can’t be present. Betty objects until the judge explains that her decision to allow their dirty laundry to be aired in the court of public opinion, which in turn might harm their children, could also negatively affect her position in the custody matter. Given that Betty’s relationship with her eldest daughter, who just graduated high school, is strained at best, Betty grudgingly agrees.
A Possible Win for Betty…Then Another Loss
Betty’s initial strategy is to prove the divorce was a result of Dan’s cheating. But California, the judge explains, recognizes no-fault divorce. That means their hearing is only to divide assets and property and determine custody. Eventually Betty finds her footing, focusing her questions around how she supported Dan while he went to medical and law school, all of which he dismisses as minimal if not meaningless. Eventually she correctly calls out some of his maneuverings to increase her “Epsteins” to him. This gives Betty the opportunity to get the judge to consider the current valuation of Dan’s firm as opposed to its value four years ago when they separated, though the judge makes no promises; he still needs to take into account the facts and circumstances presented. When Dan paints the picture of Betty being emotionally unstable and exceedingly greedy, Betty’s back on shaky ground.
“Everyone wants a kitten, not a cat.”
During Dan’s lawyer’s closing argument, he reinforces Betty’s greediness by referring to her expenses as “emotional blackmail,” while Dan has risen to wealth through hard work and “God-given talent.” He suggests Betty get a fraction of what she’s asking for and limited visitation. Despite the rationale Betty puts forward in her closing statement about how much she contributed to and sacrificed for Dan’s success—especially if, as he claims, the divorce started the day they married. The judge sides with Dan. Betty not only will get much less than what she asked for, but also she is ordered to pay Dan almost $800,000. Dan will retain sole custody and Betty is granted formal visitation rights on alternating holidays and weekends.
“The men write the rules.”
Once again, Dan has won. To Betty it seems that men write the rules, while women aren’t allowed to get angry. A man can defend himself but a woman is supposed to go into a corner and cry and take pills and kill herself. Betty begins to fill out the paperwork to purchase a .38 revolver at the firearms store.