"Happy Valentine's Day! I want a divorce!"
An attorney in Michigan is offering a rather unusual giveaway on what is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year: an all-expenses-paid divorce for the person who can offer him the most compelling story.
Walter H. Bentley III of Southfield, Michigan, said one of his students in a night school class gave him the idea when she invited him to her divorce party.
"She'd just had her divorce finalized and she was celebrating," Bentley told ABC News. "I'd never thought about that before—celebrating divorce. So, I thought, why not do something special for Valentine's Day? You can't find a new love before you close the chapter on the old."
He says nearly 500 people so far have applied for the contest, which is limited to an uncontested divorce with no or minimum child custody issues.
The contest closes Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. EST and is limited to Michigan residents.
Bentley said he and his colleagues will comb through the list for the most affecting situations--"someone truly struggling to move forward"--such as financial troubles or illness.
"They won't have to take out their wallet for anything," he says. "All the hearings, all the paperwork. I will pay all the fees and expenses, to the end. What they're getting would ordinarily cost them $1,500 to $3,000."