I’ve rarely written about my divorce case because i’ve always been scared that there might be legal repercussions. There had been too many legal decisions that seemed unfair and illogical for me to trust the legal system to protect me. I broke my silence with an open letter. At the time i posted it, i thought the nightmare was finally over. The divorce was finalized in 1992. But it didn’t end until our son turned 18 – 17 years later. Well, apparently, it still hasn’t ended. The most recent court case ensued when our son refused to visit his father, my ex, about 5 years ago. He was about to enter high school and you’d think that a teen old enough for all sorts of stuff could decide who they want to visit… But because biology trumps the rights of children, my ex had the legal right to sue me, since apparently i was supposed to force our son to want to visit his father, no to visit his father whether he wanted or not. Fortunately, it never came to a court hearing thanks to a court system that works utterly slowly and apparently requires a petition for a judge to take a breath (i.e., just about everything). But it was expensive. And my ex now wants me to pay for his share as well as my share. It occurred to him to ask for that more than a year after the court quietly closed the case because a person who is 18 can no longer be forced to visit anybody, so my ex’s case had lost all merit. I don’t know what the legal outcome of this particular iteration of the divorce case will be. But i do know what the psychological outcome is for me: I am scared. I am still not safe from the abuse of my ex that is now coming in the form of unwarranted legal cases. And the courts rather than protecting me against this kind of abuse and harassment – or just throwing out a case that is ridiculous – goes through its slow motion. I would like the divorce to be final. I would like to be allowed to live my life in peace. But apparently that’s too much to ask if you are a woman who dared to file for divorce and then to boot make money as a single mother rather than fitting the conservative stereotype. How dare i! I should be punished for that!
Couple of Updates:
- I realized why this is emotionally so stressful: When i took the plunge to fully pursue my dream, i had expected that these expenses were behind me. Now i have $75K hanging over my head!
- My lawyer thinks that my chances are good that the court will not order me to pay my ex’es legal costs (those $75K). But because of my ex’es alcoholism-induced unemployment, my chances of recovering my own legal expenses to defend myself this round are slim.
- March 7, 2011: The court dismissed my ex’s petition. I am really, really hoping that this will be the end of that (huge big) chapter in my life.
- April 12, 2011: The total legal costs to me of defending myself against this ridiculous petition: $1,110!