In Case You Thought I Was Exaggerating About My Ex- Video- NSFW

Major, major update for those who follow my blog but not my Twitter stream (they knew days ago! 😛 ) – the ex and I reached an agreement on the whole settlement issue. It involved cash payment up front so I could do as I planned and get a new place, and him buying back a few of the larger furniture items I had been awarded by the court that he wanted to keep. I thought overall we were both happy enough with it. We drew up a contract and he came over and signed it, and I thought, naively, that that would be the end of it.

My how things change quickly. Almost immediately after the contract was signed and money changed hands, I started getting emails about how he talked to his lawyer, and the court’s decision that I get all the household stuff didn’t include blah blah blah (fill in the blanks, because he is trying to make it sound like pretty much most of the stuff in the house). Nothing belonging to the kids, nothing belonging to him from before we were together (which clearly I agree with), and nothing he terms as ‘gifts’, which he has now expanded to mean anything anyone has ever given us for free, ever, and some of which we paid for. He is also trying to say ‘household items’ does not include appliances, so he gets to keep both refrigerators, even though the agreement he and I drew up includes him buying one from me.  (For the record, the house did not come with a fridge, and we would be taking it with us if we’d moved. I am not talking about appliances that came with the house, like the stove).  As part of the agreement he is supposed to pay me the final $1,000 when I move out by the 11th of December, and as you can imagine he is trying to say anything and everything is reason for him to not follow through on that signed, video-taped contract.

The court papers were exceedingly clear in that he gets the kids bedroom furniture, and I am awarded the remaining household items. I can’t think of any way at all it could be more clear. Yet he continues to try to bargain for, and when that doesn’t work, bully me into, giving him things that I have been awarded by the court. He has even gone so far as to offer to trade me things I already own, for things that I’ve told him are not for sale. The logic, or lack thereof, has been absolutely comical at times, and great fodder for conversation with friends who swear I need to write a book about my experiences when this is all finished.

His visit today was not so comical. In fact it came close to downright scary. He came over to drop off the washing machine, and knowing he was coming I had the video camera ready (something I started some time ago for my own safety).  For those who may have doubted or thought I was exaggerating when I describe his behavior, you can not see it with your own eyes. Nothing happens until about a minute in, and you can see when he comes in he is immediately pissy and confrontational, despite the fact that I’d said nothing to him or even tried to initiate conversation.  Warning ahead of time- there is some language here so I’d deem it NSFW, or not safe to listen to around kids.

The police won’t issue a restraining order unless he actually does something (I looked into this back when everything first went down) but luckily this will all be over soon as I have agreed to be moved out by the 11th. Needless to say after his behavior today, I will be carrying my pepper spray on me as well, in addition to keeping the video camera running.

I’m taking no chances.

I Thought My Divorce Was Over, Turns Out it Was Just Beginning

First and foremost, the big news- my divorce is final.

Longtime readers of my blog know just how big this news is. This has been nothing short of a war for over a year and a half now. Luckily the kids have for the majority of it been kept in the dark, but the process has taken an emotional toll on all of us, so there was a huge sigh of relief just calling the courthouse and hearing that yes, the divorce decree had been processed yesterday.

The relief was somewhat short lived as I got and read the papers. The terms of my divorce are somewhat unusual- the ex got custody of the kids, and I continue to have supervised visitation pending the results of another psych evaluation, and if I am deemed not to be a threat to anyone, then I will be allowed normal, every-other-weekend unsupervised visitation.

For all of the hassle and concern, you’d think I’d put a gun to my kids heads rather than tried to overdose myself in a hotel room alone in a moment of extreme stress.

I’m not overly concerned about that part, just curious why a second evaluation is needed when the court already has a copy of the first one I undertook voluntarily.  The interesting part about it is that visitation has now been ordered at a family center here who charges $45 an hour, at his expense. Ouch. Considering how often I haven’t been able to see the kids because no one was free to be here to supervise, this arrangement is actually something of an improvement over what it was, and is clearly very temporary. The thought of him having custody of our kids kills me, but the fact is right now he is the one with a stable job, and when I am able to look at things objectively I know this is a good opportunity for me to get myself settled and in a better place financially to equalize things more in the future. It’s a very bitter pill to swallow though to even think about that.

As for the rest…When we were in court the ex was asked about his plan for things financially. At that point he said there was nothing in the house worth fighting over as far as assets, and that he had a company lined up and willing to give him an equity loan on the house (which we long ago agreed he’d keep) and he would use that that to give me a settlement check when the divorce was over. Said all this on the stand, under oath.

Clearly the judge took all this to heart, and since the ex felt there was nothing worth fighting over, awarded me everything in the house, aside from the kids bedroom furniture. Yes, everything. ( Alabama- equitable distribution state FTW!)

Guess who has suddenly decided, despite testifying otherwise, that maybe he can’t give me that lump sum after all? The papers say he has the ‘option’ to pay the settlement in $120 a month installments, starting in January.

Guess who is saying that if I want him to pay the lump sum so I can, after being locked out of the checking account for the last 18 months and given only enough money to barely get by on, start over and get a place to live, must now make him an offer on the property the court awarded to me in the divorce.

In short, if I want the money up front as he has agreed to multiple times both in and out of court, I basically must agree ahead of time to give up some of what the court gave me as part of the settlement.

Worse yet, he won’t even tell me what it is he is after, he just keeps telling me to ‘make him an offer’. I’m not stupid, nothing I even tried to offer would be enough, and I’d likely be considerably better off selling what I don’t need rather than trying to bargain with him.

He is even now arguing that things that he bought and paid for himself are ‘gifts’ (to himself apparently) and that they ‘don’t count’ in what the court awarded me. I’m sorry, what part of everything but the kids bedroom furniture is so hard to understand?

Icing on the cake? He’s making comments about the time I have left in the house running out and how I will be living in my van if I don’t get the money, so I need to hurry up and make him an offer.

So rather than going and signing papers on a cute rental house I found tomorrow, I get to go back to the courthouse and start filing more crap to get this all dealt with. More time, more headaches, more delays.

I just want this done. I want it over so I can get out of this house and move on, but as usual his wallet is more important than trying to make a stable life for his kids, and a smooth transition for all of us.

I don’t know why I expected any better from him. 18+ months of being fucked over at every opportunity should have taught me better.

One Down, One to Go

It’s almost never good news when someone calls you at 5 o’clock in the morning and tells you ‘Turn on your light please, we need to talk’. Cue feeling of impending doom as I stumble across the room, still half-asleep.

“Don’t get mad” Paul tells me, “but my ex just called here.”

Oh for fucks sake what does she want now???

“My divorce is final. It’s done. Over. I am now legally free to be with you.”ball-and-chain

Suddenly I didn’t care about the time. I didn’t care that I’d been woken from a sound sleep. For the moment I didn’t even care that she’d called. I just felt complete and utter relief.

It was over, his divorce was finished.

To be honest, we were both taken by surprise. There have been some holdups in his paperwork along the way, and we’ve heard nothing for ages. I had my hearing on Nov 5th, and am expecting my papers literally any day now. We both thought for sure mine would be finished first. Either way we are beyond thrilled that this major step is done, for him at least.

Friends have been asking all day what is next. Truthfully..nothing, for a good while at least. It may seem odd to some, but we always said once the divorces were final we wanted to do things properly. We know we want to be together, but we decided a long time ago there would be no engagement while either or both of us are still legally married, and when he does ask, he will be here in person to do it. We both need to get better situated financially before we start filing papers for the visa process, and I need to get settled somewhere and give my kids some time to adjust to the situation as it stands(whatever that is, no word from the court yet) before anyone new is brought into their lives.

As excited as we are to start our lives together, we are not rushing into anything. We’ve been through so much over the last year and a half, and for now we are just thrilled that a big part of the stress has been lifted off of us. We are looking forward to my legal stuff being wrapped up, and getting the chance to just be us as a couple for awhile as we rebuild ourselves and start working towards our goals for the future.

Congratulations my love. I’m so very happy for you 🙂

Why We Are Going Back to Court Sooner Than Expected

It has just dawned on me that as of yesterday, it’s been six months since my ex was granted what was supposed to be temporary custody, and he took our kids and moved out. Six months of seeing them only every other weekend, and six months of nightly phone calls.

It hurts even typing that out.

When the order was originally put in place, my then-lawyer assured me that this was only until we got my hospital records, and then everything would go back to how it was. 3 weeks of back and forth with the hospital to get my records, only to be told they didn’t use the specific wording he thought we needed to be done with this in one go. Nothing wrong with what was said, but he wanted specific phrases before he would even try to get this in front of a judge. Fuck me.

“Go get a psych evaluation done” he tells me, so off I go to be questioned and analyzed. The result? Same thing we knew all along- I was under extreme stress from my divorce, and made an impulsive decision that the psychiatrist does not feel I will repeat.

Great! Let’s take this back to court!

“Too close” he tells me, “Wait until the divorce hearing in a couple of weeks. This will all be over then.”

Frustration, anger, confusion. I just want my kids back home.

Then the day before court, he takes himself off my case. A solid year of telling me ‘do not go back to work’, a year of me pushing him to get the Status Quo order enforced (and him not doing it), and he drops me because I can’t pay him. There is some kind of serious irony there I think.

The day he is notified I have no lawyer, the ex files to have me kicked out of our house, and a hearing date is set for that. Job-hunting proves unsuccessful, and it very quickly becomes obvious a new lawyer is out of the question and I am going to have to defend myself.

Which I did, successfully.

Months of emails from the ex telling me that I was a shitty mother, calling me an unfit parent, and threatening to not let me see the kids for whatever reason he felt like that day had taken their toll on my confidence, but it was that small victory that made me realize that I wasn’t as helpless as I felt in all this.

A couple of weeks ago, with the help and support of Paul, I went to the courthouse and filed two motions with the court. One asking the temporary custody order be dissolved, the other asking the ex be held in contempt for his refusal to follow the Status Quo order that had been put in place a year before.

A solid year I have been locked out of the bank accounts, had no access to the credit cards, and since he moved out of the house, have been given only money for gas, $20 a week in personal spending, and $30 a week for groceries, which has to cover all meals, cleaning supplies and personal items like razors and tampons. Let’s not forget the extra meals for 3 kids and a supervisor 2 days every other week as well, which also has to come out of my $30 a week. No extra money for that.

For all my previous lawyer’s hemming and hawing and talking about how he was ‘trying to get a court date’ for months, within two weeks I heard back from the court with a date.

On October 2nd we go back to court, specifically for the purpose of dealing with these two issues. With any luck at all, my kids will be back with me when it’s over.

The last bit of advice my previous lawyer gave me when I left his office was not to do this on my own, under any circumstances. The person who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Maybe I’m wrong, but all things considered I have a lot more faith in my therapist, who says I’ve come a long way in learning to take control and stand up for myself.

This clearly isn’t going to change unless I take action, and if looking foolish is the worst that can happen I’ll gladly take that risk to have my kids back with me where they belong.