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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finally the divorce

I’m doing what was agreed on in the settlement, weekly dinners have replace the phone calls that were so stressful.  Brad had the kids for a Christmas visit, and then it started to snow.   This issue is apparently as big as the riding a bike issue.    Brad insists that if it snows, a rare occurrence, he can come over and take the kids outside to play.  Scheduling this is problematic at best.   I don’t want him in the house, since it’s only been three weeks since the bad argument on moving day over the bike. Here's how 'snow day' went.  

01/09/11 Sunday PM – Brad came to play with kids in snow, agreed on before, insisted on coming inside, said “I won’t ever let another man play with my kids in the snow”, told the kids “mommy’s making me leave” when I asked him to go, argued back and forth about how I have to “agree” to something with the snow or he is going back to court, said “I hope you die” when he left  after I insisted he leave
So he plans to go to court to get a judge to agree that he can play with the kids when it snows.  Really?  This just shows how out of touch he is – I’m pretty sure a judge would laugh him out of court.  Every time things don’t go exactly his way, and on his timeline he gets mad and he frequently threatens to go back to court.  The final paperwork has not been signed, so I take these threats at least somewhat seriously.     After much delay and after Brad’s lawyer is back from maternity leave we finally have a date scheduled in mid-March.   Then it gets cancelled due to some court issue and will be rescheduled.  Finally we find out with about one week’s notice that it will be March 31.   I am happy because now it will be over and scared because I don't know what's going to happen.

Throughout this time frame, Brad’s attorney made several requests to change what was in the mediated settlement agreement.  He wanted more time in the summer, he wanted more time at the holidays, and he wanted official notification of any man moving into my house as well as information so he could run a background check on said man.  It seems neither Brad nor his lawyer understand 'legally binding mediated settlment'.  There are no do-overs or take-backs.  My lawyer basically said to Brad’s lawyer in a nice way “The settlement agreement was signed and it’s legally binding, so get over it, were not agreeing to any changes.” 
Right after this Brad exploded at swim lessons.

03/25/11 Swim lessons – Brad attended and took pictures – all was ok, then I mentioned about t-ball and two practices a week, he seemed eager to help take Luke to practice, I mentioned he might have to bring him home late or I’d have to come get kids if practice happed to be on Wednesday, he got very upset and said he would want to trade dinner nights if that was the case and that it was “not fair” for him to lose and hour because of practice (even thought he would be watching) – said I was being selfish and the reason our marriage failed was because I was so selfish (said this in front of kids), said he would call his lawyer to get it written into the agreement to change  Wednesdays if it was a practice night 
Again with the court threat, this time over t-ball practice.  The weird part is that he never mentioned about the court date coming up in less than a week. 

The day of the court dates comes, it’s a Wednesday, so I know I’ll have to see him tonight, regardless,  but I am so nervous to see him at court and have barely slept.  I have no idea what he’s going to do.  My lawyers and I feel certain we are on good legal ground.  We have a signed settlement and the worst that could probably happen is that Brad will bring his proposals forward and the judge will agree to all of them.   Or he might just realize that it’s over and come to court and sign the deal without a fight.   What happens is something none of us expected.  

We wait and wait, but neither Brad nor his lawyer show.   Technically, he does not have to be there.  We finally go before the judge and explain the situation and the divorce is granted, pending a 30 day period where he could challenge it.    I leave the courthouse elated and confused.  I am divorced, but I still have that 30 days hanging over my head.  Brad's not showing up is so out of character, I discuss with my friends and family and we finally decide this is his passive/aggressive way of indicating he’s not happy with it, but not fighting it.  I’m very surprised his lawyer didn’t at least call my lawyers to indicate they were not going to show.
I drive in to work, and on the way home eagerly go by the driver’s license office to change my last name back to my maiden name.  I have had very mixed feelings about having a different last name than my children, but at the end of the day, I did not want to use his name for the rest of my life, and who knows if I would ever get married again. 

He has picked up the kids for dinner and brings them back to my house.  I had to give him a check the day of the settlement (don’t get me started again on the money issue), so I handed it to him when he arrived saying something about ‘per the agreement..’.  He then asks “So when it the court date to sign scheduled?”  I explained that it had been today and that he had missed it and that we were divorced.   Awkward.  He seemed genuinely surprised, so I guess his lawyer never told him.  We had some words about not notifying him and more threats, etc.  It was horrible.    
I have actual emails sent to his lawyer and copies of faxes notifying her of the date, I can only surmise that she did not read them.  A week later after he’s talked with his lawyer comes this.

04/08/01 Friday at swim lessons, brought up court date – threatened me with going to court to “start over” and said this is going to cost you fifty or sixty thousand – because you won’t agree to my demands for summer and thanksgiving – mocking me and said “I’m enjoying this” when I tried to explain what I thought would happen with court and how he does not have a good reason to “start over” – continued throughout lesson and to school event- basically trying to manipulate me into agreeing to his demands, drove Cassie home, not sure why- I was a little afraid to meet him at the house
This incident was terrifying and stressful beyond belief – it went on for two hours.   He started the conversation with “so you know there are a bunch of court dates coming up, right?” When I said that I did not, and started to explain he’d have to have a good reason to contest it, he got very angry. He followed me around swims lessons to argue with me, I went inside and outside several times to try to get away, but he would not let me.  Then we had to go to a school function and he kept at it there.  He was making snide remarks and generally being a jerk.  He decided to take Cassie to my house in his car and I took that as a threat.  I was afraid he was using that as an excuse to get to me, so he could continue to abuse me.  Luckily, he did not.   I agreed to forward him the emails where his lawyer was copied.  At this point he was mostly mad at me and my lawyers.

At the next kid drop-off (he was seeing them unsupervised now), he mentioned he had read the emails and had calmed down considerably.   He recognized that perhaps his lawyer was indeed the problem.  I’m not sure what all processes he went through in his own mind,  but the 30 days came and went. 
Of course he couldn’t let it go completely.   I had verbally agreed to more time at Thanksgiving as my only concession to his fit, and to get him to back off of ‘starting over’.   The day before the 30 days were up he said something to the effect of “Are you going to start being mean and not living up to our agreements now that it’s final?”    Well of course not, but that's how his mind works.
May 1st, 2011, The journey that started the day I met him more than eight years ago is over.  The hell l was in living with him for more than five years is over.  The limbo I've been in for the last fourteen months is over.  We are no longer married and I can officially move on.   Praise the Lord.

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