How Not to Handle a Divorce
"I love you, but I'm not in love with you."
"I love you but I'm not in love with you." When you hear these words, THAT is the time to hire an attorney. What did I do you ask? Well settle in and I will tell you what not to do. The day I heard those words was just like any other day in our marriage, nothing any different than any other of the 2,920 days before that day. March 25th, 2012, 20 days after our 8 year anniversary. There was nothing extraordinary about this marriage, we both worked, she was in college for the last 5 years of our marriage and we looked forward to her graduation. Life was pretty good as far as I could tell. New cars for both of us, never a shortage of cash for either of us. A beautiful daughter was the best thing to ever happen to me. Yeah, we fought, we had disagreements but nothing physical or anything that a few nights on the couch wouldn't fix. Nothing that 99.9 percent of married couples encounter in an 8-year marriage. So just let me say....what a surprise it was when I heard those words.
I stayed in the spare room for about a month, nothing was getting better, things were getting worse. I found a good counselor and began talking things out with her. She recommended I find a girlfriend and try to unwind. I went to my doctor and was treated for depression and anxiety. Armed with prescription drugs and a head full of new ideas, I decided to offer the wife the option of moving to her parents since she wanted out of the marriage and I didn't, why should I suffer? I even offered to pack her things for her. Well, that's one thing you should never do. By the time it was all said and done, she threatened to call the Police and tell them to remove me If I didn't leave NOW! Facing arrest and possibly losing my career. I work for The Department of Corrections, they don't like accusations of domestic violence. I decided to get out before I went to jail. I moved in with my 87-year-old grandmother on April 29th, 2012. I left with a trash bag of clothes and a 32" TV. I still have about the same amount of things as of this writing. So things aren't bad. I have a spacious 12x10 bedroom with a full-size bed that I purchased when I left. The bed is the cheapest one I could find so it's like sleeping on a bed of nails. So to summarize: In 30 days I have gone from a 5-year-old home living with and seeing my daughter every day, to living in what equates to a large prison cell and seeing my daughter whenever I can. It gets better!!!! NOT
What not to do
So, instead of hiring a lawyer to find out what my options were, (she had already consulted one weeks prior), I lost it. I blamed myself for everything. I begged and pleaded for her to reconsider. I slept in the spare room, if you call staying up all night crying and thinking about what I could have done to cause this and how can I fix this? I lived there for about a month, I spent a lot of time with my daughter, I went to work, I came home, she wouldn't talk to me, I felt like a stranger in my own house. She began going out a lot, walking around the neighborhood talking and texting on her phone while I stayed home to watch our daughter. The weekends were more of the same, her going out late staying out until 1-2 in the morning under the guise of "studying with the girls". Well, I watched my daughter and I stewed and got angry and sad. I started going out before she would. I would drink for hours and come home and go to sleep on the futon. Like I said earlier. Not really sleeping. I would leave notes for her. Plead my case, ask her to reconsider, and to give us a chance. What I should have been doing was consulting a lawyer and keeping my mouth shut. Once someone has made up their mind that they aren't in love with you anymore, there isn't much you can do to change it.
The next three months
So for the first couple of weeks that I lived abroad, she let me wash my clothes at my house. I used that time to leave notes and flowers and gifts for her. I called and texted every day and night hoping she would reconsider. Nothing. I was rewarded after three weeks of her allowing me to wash my clothes, with the sinking feeling you get when your key doesn't fit in the lock anymore. She locked me out of my own house. Why do you ask? Well, she said it made her uncomfortable that I was leaving notes for her? Well, readers, I'm not a rocket scientist, but I guess I can take a hint. My Birthday came and went in May without even a "screw you". June was uneventful. Just visitation every weekend with my daughter. I spent a lot of time and money In May and June. My daughter and I were forced to stay in hotels every weekend, as the living conditions at Grandmas were not air-conditioned. We made the best of it. When I wasn't with my daughter I spent a lot of time at the bars. Drinking my troubles away seemed like the thing to do considering I had just lost everything I loved and cared about for the past 8 years. During this troubled time, I thought things couldn't get worse.
Things get worse
June 30th could have been the end of the world for me. I decided to take my daughter camping for the weekend. We lived in NJ, so I took the Camper to a campground approximately 40 minutes from where I used to live. Friday afternoon was uneventful, the real excitement started around midnight. I received a text message from my golf buddy who is also an avid camper. He suggested retracting my awning and if possible "turtle up" meaning to close the tent ends of the camper and sleep in the main body of the camper. After fighting with the awning I finally retracted it. No time to "Turtle" so I waited as the winds picked up. At 1:00 AM all hell broke loose. The wind was like a freight train. Lightning was constant and the rain was like being in a hurricane. I huddled with my daughter when suddenly a CRASH from outside and a SMASH as a tree hit the camper and ripped the tent end bunk completely off the camper with my daughter flying up and into the main camper area. Thank goodness she was only shaken up and not the worse for wear. As I looked through the now gaping hole in the camper, I saw in between the flashes of lightning, a large tree had fallen onto my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, flattening it and as I would find out later, totaled. The tree then decided to bounce off and took out the camper. Great! So as rain poured in, I called my friend, my soon-to-be ex-wife, and the insurance company. Here's where it gets better. The insurance company calmly told me that my Jeep was uninsured...WHAT. Later it was explained that I had inadvertently changed the coverage's when I was trying to reduce my living expenses any way that I could. So my friend jumped in her vehicle as soon as she heard the news, as did my ex-wife. I turned my friend back for her safety as it was a long drive to the campground from her house. About an hour later my ex showed up with a flat tire...."the first of two during this fiasco." She had to drive through people's yards to get to us, as the roads were all but impassable.
After the Storm
The next seven days were a blur, my vehicle was totaled, I missed work, The ex did everything possible to help me, I can't fault her for that. Too bad the only reason she helped me is that she had an interest in the Jeep and she was more worried about her credit rating than my being unable to get back and forth to work. To think....for an instant, I thought this disaster would bring us back together, that it would prove that we could work together through any adversity. Boy was I ever wrong.
I Need Child Support
So, things went even further south during the next few months. I received a subpoena for court to answer the charges of her need for child support. This is when I decided I needed an attorney. I was lucky to have met a great attorney through mutual friends and she was just what I needed. Her specialty was divorce and civil matters. So I consulted her about the child support order, I had the option of taking her to court for the day for $400-$500 dollars or going to court without her and asking the judge for certain things to be considered during the child support calculations. Boy, I should have chosen the first option. I went to court, I was told the week before by my ex "don't talk to me unless it concerns our Daughter."
Court Room Drama
I sat quietly waiting for the court doors to open, as I stood by the door the ex approached and asked me if they were ready. I heeded her wishes and remained silent. I probably should have answered her because that's when she decided to become an asshole. In the courtroom, she told the Judge that I left on my own and abandoned my Family. She said I wasn't paying my half of the mortgage and she allowed the judge to impose visitation for only 6 days per month. She also asked that I repay HER student loans! Wish granted. The judge gave her everything. Over half of my net pay now goes to her! I have a car payment, car insurance, credit cards, cable bill, phone bill, electric, heat, and now spousal support, child support and HER student loans. I give up.
No end in sight
So much has happened since March 29th, I couldn't begin to tell you all of the ups and downs I have encountered, I will try to cover the most memorable. Shortly before my court date, I got an apartment, it is a duplex house that has been neglected for many years. I took on the task of remodeling this place. I have been working on it for the past 2 1/2 months. I'm closer than when I started, yet so far away from moving in. The child/spousal support order has taken all of my finances that were to be used for the remodel, not to mention the depression I live with, it won't allow me to motivate myself to work on it or much of anything else.
Not long after the child support debacle, I was involved in a car accident, I had just purchased a new Jeep Compass to replace the Jeep that was lost during the storm. I totaled the new Jeep Compass. Thankfully, I had Insurance this time. I wasn't injured in the accident. The damage to both vehicles involved was devastating. So now sidled with two car payments, one with no chance of being forgiven, I was left to fend for myself. I rented a car for $600.00 a month. I used up my credit to pay the bills I couldn't afford anymore due to my recent 65% loss of income after taxes. It has been a whirlwind of a journey with no end in sight. I still can't grasp this reality I now live in. I have good days and bad days, but I just can't seem to shake this empty feeling inside. Perhaps someday I will come to realize that I can make it alone and that no matter what, I will always have my daughter's love to see me through these difficult times. But for now, I put one foot in front of the other and trudge through this blizzard that has become my life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Charles Kikas