By the second week after he abruptly departed, I had hired an attorney, and within another week, we had served him with divorce papers.
I received a text: All you had to do was apologize.
When you think about it, though, divorce papers are a form of apology. What they really say are, I’m sorry I married you. I take it back.
We sent a proposal for temporary orders: He would pay the rent of the apartment he had just leased and his car payments, while I would pay the mortgage on the house and my own car payments. Simple.
He called my lawyer and screamed. The paralegal ended the conversation abruptly, which was her polite way of saying, he wasn’t very polite so I hung up on him.
He called my lawyer back and asked for an attorney referral. My lawyer chuckled and emailed him some names.
He hired someone else and sent back a reply to the proposed temporary orders: I should pay him spousal support.
My lawyer calms me down. No judge would ever award it in this state, since he can fully support himself, he says. I’m a little concerned about the attorney that would sign their name to that.
One of his complaints is that since I’ve changed the locks, he has no access to his “stuff” – ignoring the fact that I have delivered his “stuff” to a storage facility, which I paid for myself and gave him the combination to. We offer to produce pictures of the items in the house and he can provide ONE list of items he wants; I will make one delivery.
We send back this reply.
They reply with additional demands: No, that’s not how he wants his “stuff.” He should be able to make requests for items from the house, one at a time. I should have to turn deliver each item to him within 24 hours or face sanctions.
Right, I tell the lawyer. Don’t bother anymore. $2,000 have been spent we’re no closer to an agreement than we were before. Fine, he says.
Spring becomes summer and it occurs to me that if the house is going to be sold, summer would be the best time. We send a letter asking what he’d like to do about the house – does he want it? Does he propose it be sold?
We receive no response.
My lawyer suggests we send over a list of interrogatory questions: Standard stuff at this point. He’s supposed to produce a list of financial statements and property he claims is his alone.
I said: The Departed will never answer these questions. Let’s not waste our time sending them. I know what it in his accounts. We don’t need any of this.
We compromised: We sent subpoenas to all the accounts on the list, and also to his employer.
I receive a set of interrogatories from his attorney’s office.
Great, I say, and we send a set of identical questions over to him while I fill mine out and start tracking down records.
I send over about two pounds of financial and other records.
To each of the questions, he gives one of three replies: I don’t know – she knows. I refuse to answer on the grounds the question is too broad and not relevant. Discovery is ongoing.
No, says my attorney. He holds a conference with the other attorney. Finally, we receive a reply.
They request we select a mediation date from a list of suggested dates. We reply with the most convenient date. They reply, that date will no longer work. Also, although they had initially requested mediation, they now require a detailed property proposal from me – none from their side – before they will even consent to proceed. This is needed as “a show of good faith.”
Back and forth, back and forth. The legal bills mount.
Nine months, and no closer to a resolution than the day he left.