Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I have not retained a lawyer since about a year after our divorce was signed and recorded. I didn't think I needed one anymore and I still don't. I often wonder as I am going through the reams of paper that my lawyer and his lawyer generated, if a lawyer was even necessary at all.

My ex left in October and I filed in January of the next year. It seemed liked forever that we were living in limbo. He wouldn't file, for reasons I don't really understand, but he wouldn't consider reconciliation either. So I decided it was time to move on and I filed. When I did I was scared to death. I had a 9 month old baby and a ten year old boy from a previous marriage. I was not working outside of the home at the time.

We needed lawyers to handle the business of separation. He was not supporting us and I had no idea how to make that happen without a lawyer. After the papers were served he retained a lawyer and there were no more pleasant conversations between us for years to come.

I would receive correspondence daily it seemed. My attorney would forward everything that she received from his attorney to me so there was usually a two or three day lag that I was behind. Upon receiving any correspondence I would immediately call my attorney at $250. /hr and ask her to explain to me what the letter was about. Usually it was incredibly inflammatory shit that made no sense whatsoever. Her response was that the letter didn't mean much of anything. But we would, of course, respond accordingly. When we asked for documents we were given a laundry list of why they were not available. We wasted the judge's time on several occasions because we never received information we had asked for. I remind you that this was at $250. /hr just on my side.

For every letter sent to me I fired one right back, again at $250. /hr. None of the bickering we did through the mail made any difference. We came to no conclusions at all. It wasn't until we got in front of the mediator that we made any headway. Once we did, the mediator ran down the hall to present it to the judge so no one could change their mind.

I feared going to the mailbox and not just because of all the unpaid bills or threatening letters from creditors. I feared another of my ex's attorney's letters. They were so brutal. His attorney was like a pit pull. He was not a family law attorney; he was a personal injury lawyer. Things went from bad to worse with every letter sent.

Ironically, everything I asked for in the original filing I received. I wasn't asking for anything that wasn't fair and the judge saw it that way. My ex still complains every now and then about the bills from his attorney. I assume he blames them on me. And I guess I blame him for mine. I just finished paying my attorney last year so I understand the desire to complain about it. Had he just accepted the terms of the divorce as I had requested when I filed we both could have saved about 20K each.

He still has an attorney though not the same one thankfully. We are working on a couple of things right now and have met with his attorney to try to settle a couple of things. It hasn't worked. When I get a letter from his attorney, or an email, they are so cold. His new lawyer is much easier to work with and much less abrasive but she is still working for him and the customer is always right. If he wants something she will try to get it for him. He is paying her after all and I am not. She represents him.

I asked if we, my ex and I, could sit down over coffee and try to figure these things out on our own. Just talk and come up with a solution. I specifically asked that we don't go through his attorney as it just makes everything cost more. Seems pretty simple to me. We aren't trying to change any custody or parenting time or anything that has to do with our child. Seems to me we should be able to work this out. His response was that he would talk to his attorney and have her draw something up. ARGHH!!!!

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