In late 1986, Betty Broderick told her ex-husband, Daniel, a successful attorney, that she had become accustomed to a certain life style and deserved $30,000 a month in alimony.
Dan Broderick, who was making more than $1 million a year, told her his figures showed she could have $7,316.
Eventually, a judge would tell them that neither was being reasonable.
The Brodericks' test of wills is woven through a series of tangled financial dealings connected to their divorce, according to court documents obtained by The Times. Dan Broderick and his second wife, Linda, were killed two weeks ago in their bedroom, and Betty Broderick is charged with their murders.
The balance sheets, calculations and account ledgers document the two years--1985 and 1986--during which Dan and Betty Broderick separated and divorced, a period a lawyer in the case told a judge was "tumultuous for this couple, at best."
The financial papers also provide a portrait of the heady and glamorous way of life the couple enjoyed--the life style Dan Broderick had after they split and which Betty Broderick desperately wanted to hold on to.
"My client has a lynx coat," one of Betty's lawyers, Tricia Smith of San Diego, would tell a judge during the alimony battle.
"She has dresses that cost $2,000. She has ball gowns that cost $8,000. They took trips to Europe, they brought friends on their trips. Their life style--they gave gifts, they gave parties, they went to charity balls--all of those kinds of things are extremely expensive.
"That was when they were married, and that was the life style," Smith said.
Even after the couple separated, and with a monthly income of only $9,036, thousands less than she was used to, Betty Broderick continued to lead the life style of a rich lady, the documents indicate.
During one four-month period in 1986--after the divorce became final--Betty spent $215 just on her fingernails, she said.
Her expenses "admittedly were high," she said, but were "consistent with the type of living standard I earned during my lengthy marriage to Dan."
Dan and Betty Broderick, who were married in 1969, separated Feb. 28, 1985. Dan filed for divorce in San Diego Superior Court on Sept. 23, 1985.
In August, 1985, the two agreed informally that Dan would give Betty $9,036 a month for expenses and that she would not pay taxes on that money.
Between August, 1985, and December, 1986, Dan made those payments every month, he said in a sworn statement.
During those 15 months, he also said, Betty received four other payments from him of $10,000 or more, proceeds from the sale of properties or club memberships.
One of those checks, he said, was for $127,784 from the sale of their house on Coral Reef Avenue in La Jolla--a sum that fled quickly for Betty. Dan Broderick said the money represented half of the net proceeds plus $40,000--the extra $40,000 so she could remodel her new home in La Jolla, a $650,000 house he had bought her after they separated.
The Coral Reef house was sold only after Dan turned to a little-known court procedure. After he decided to sell the house, and got advice from Betty about a real estate agent, Betty twice refused to sign the sale papers, he said.
So he went to court, and, on Feb. 4, 1986, a judge signed the documents for Betty in a special legal substitution, Dan said.
That night, Betty crashed a Chevrolet Suburban into the front door of his new Hillcrest house, he said.
On July 16, 1986, the Brodericks' divorce became formal in court. The details of their finances, however, were not included in the divorce decree, so Dan continued to send Betty the $9,036 monthly checks.
Even after the divorce, Betty continued to harass him, Dan said. So, in a Sept. 9 letter, he decided to "fine" her, deducting the fines from her monthly check--$100 for each offensive word on the phone, $250 if she came near his new house, $500 if she actually stepped inside the house and $1,000 if she saw their sons without clearing it with him first.
In that same letter, Dan wrote her: "During our telephone conversation, you used a disgusting and unseemly word to refer to Linda (Kolkena, Dan's legal assistant and then girlfriend) . . . That will cost you $100."
The letter is defaced at that point, where someone--reportedly Betty--scrawled, "She is disgusting and unseemly."
In an Oct. 31 letter, Dan recounted more "sanctions" and said he was giving her only $2,300 for November.
During October and November, 1986, Betty said, Dan reduced her monthly support to "practically nothing--imposing fines on me for arbitrary reasons." In October, she said, she had to borrow $6,500 from a neighbor to pay her bills.
In December, 1986, Betty told the San Diego Superior Court that she needed more money. She filed a request for $30,000 a month, or 30% of what she believed Dan's gross monthly income was at the time, "to provide a semblance of the life style I was accustomed to and deserve."