Regina DeMeo, a family law attorney in Bethesda, Maryland, had one such case. “I’ve been doing this for 18 years. Only 5 percent of my cases ever go to trial.” That’s because most people are reasonable, says DeMeo, “They do the cost-benefit analysis” and arrive at some sort of compromise.

But not the ex-wife of one of her clients, who DeMeo says has cost her client over $120,000 in court costs over two years, defending himself. “She does not stop.”

Even when she loses? “Especially when she loses,” says DeMeo, rattling off a litany of emergency filings, requests for protection from abuse orders, motions to compel or contempt motions, custody evaluations, demanded (and then rejected) exceptions, and motions to reconsider.

“We never get a break. We were required to try mediation. It went nowhere. It was like Chinese water torture,” DeMeo says.