Divorce 101

There is no rule book for divorce.  Nothing is handed out at a marriage about how to protect yourself should the marriage fall apart.  Once the affair happened, I was suddenly navigating new territory. 

A couple of weeks after I found out about the affair, I went to see a lawyer.  It was awful.  I didn’t want a divorce.  But I needed to know what to do.  A friend recommended her.  On first meeting, I just didn’t like her.  Didn’t like her attitude, her energy, anything about her.  Now that very well all could have just been my interpretation in a crazy state, but whatever.  I got a few answers, paid way too much money for 35 minutes.  She charged for one hour, even though she took too long copying my drivers license. 

I put the divorce out of my mind until the incident with the coach, telling me that my husband wasn’t respecting or honoring me, and more importantly, I wasn’t respecting or honoring myself.  I knew it was time to get going on the divorce.  And this time, I did a bit more research. 

I set up an initial meeting with a lawyer who was recommended and seemed like a better fit.  In our first meeting she listened to me, to what a wanted.  She explained what we would be doing and what she needed from me.  At least I was feeling better about this lawyer. 

And then the long, slow, tiring process of divorce began. 

One piece of advice that always stuck with me was from the therapist I was seeing in Calgary.  She told me, early on in all this, that she always sees women who want to be nice in the divorce, and don’t take the full amount they are entitled to by the length of the marriage.  And they always come back a year or 2 later and tell her that was a huge mistake.  She didn’t tell me what to do, but these words made it pretty evident that I needed and wanted to get what was mine by law. 

Divorce in my family was an unspoken topic, even though both of my brothers were divorced.  My mother doesn’t like to acknowledge that, and still has old marriage pictures around, including mine.  And I grew up being taught that there was something wrong with divorcees.  Having all this learning from my past, and now going through the divorce myself, caused a lot of turmoil in me.  It took me a year to tell my mother. 

But I was determined to go through with it, with dignity and grace, and to get what was rightly mine.  I didn’t want the divorce, but didn’t have a choice.  So I began the process.  The first thing was getting all the financial details of my life in order, and on a spreadsheet.  I began going through the numbers and the minutiae of my life. Not an easy task, especially for someone who is not a detail person.  But I did the work and got it done.  I made an appointment to see the lawyer again. 

We went through all my paperwork.  She plugged the numbers into the standard formula for spousal support, and came up with how much he should be paying.  And she got the paperwork together to send to his lawyer.  She sent it off, and we heard nothing for months. 

I would call and email my lawyer occasionally to see what was going on.  They would reach out to his lawyer, but not get anything back.  Time was passing by so slowly.  As always, I wanted to know what was going on with my life, and just seemed to be in limbo again.  And I didn’t like limbo.  That unknowing.  But here I was again. 

I was getting antsy and wanted to leave Calgary and get back to Ohio.  I needed to sell the house.  My ex and I emailed about it, and decided that since I was living in it, I would be in charge of the sale.  We moved up there as a family 12 years earlier, and had accumulated a lot of stuff.  I was very focused on the move, and neither he nor I was doing much about the divorce. 

Moving day came and I was off to Columbus.  I spoke to my lawyer before I left, and she assured me we could work everything out through emails and phone calls.  Suddenly I was starting life in a new city.  But this divorce was looming over me. 

After a few more months, we finally we heard back from his lawyer.  He wasn’t accepting our numbers, and there was a lot of back and forth.  Nothing happening quickly.  I didn’t think he was being fair and he thought I was asking for too much.  The law gave us a range to work with, and we were each trying to hold our stand.  All the while, spending money on lawyers. 

We were trying to come to a compromise that worked for both of us.  I was taking a while to consider his latest proposal, and I received a call from my lawyer in Calgary.  My soon-to-be ex was asking that I please hurry up, as he wants to get remarried as soon as possible. 

BOOM!  There it went again.  Another stab to my heart.  He wasn’t finished with the marriage to me and was already planning his next one.  I couldn’t believe it.  Total shock.  Again.  Thank goodness for my great therapist.   She helped me work through it, and see that I would be so much better once I was finally done with this and on the other side.  Just breath.    

In order to proceed, I needed to hire a local lawyer.  We would conference call with the lawyer in Calgary.  Oh my gosh, so much money being spent on lawyers.  But no choice.  And I really felt my lawyers had my back and were helping me. 

Signing day arrived.  I went to my lawyer in Columbus, we conferenced with the lawyer in Calgary, and I just started crying.  Couldn’t believe I was getting a divorce.  But wouldn’t you know if, the US lawyer found something in the document that she didn’t like, so we had to get that taken care of.  A few more weeks.  More back and forth.  Was this divorce ever going to happen? 

Finally, on a summer day, I went to the office, and with the Calgary lawyer on the phone, signed all the documents.  This time I wasn’t crying.  I just wanted this all over with and behind me.  Everything would be filed with the Canadian Court in Calgary, and they would let me know once the divorce was final, most likely 30-60 days. 

I was planning a trip to Europe.  I was going with my daughter, and we would visit my son in Norway, and make a few other stops. 

As fate would have it, I got the notice of the divorce being final on a day when I was with both my kids.  August 13.  If you hadn’t read in a previous post, 13 is my number.  I was born on the 13th, as were my brothers and first nephew.  I graduated from Ohio State on the 13th.  I found out about the affair on the 13th.  And now the divorce was final on the 13th.  I found comfort in that and knew I would be okay.  I believe the Universe was showing me that everything was happening just as it should. 

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