Back in court again.
This excursion was a completely different experience from my previous visits there.
Instead of appearing in front of our judge, Dick, his attorney, my attorney and I met in the courtroom conference room. The goal was to try to come to a temporary financial agreement.
This was the first time I met Dick’s lawyer and the first time the four of us sat down together to talk.
Even though they didn’t have place cards at the table, it was obvious there was a seating arrangement planned for this occasion. I wondered if there were etiquette rules governing courtroom gatherings. Did Miss Manners develop socially accepted conduct for divorcing parties?
On my side of the table was my attorney and me. Opposite us were Dick and his counsel. Dick sat facing my lawyer and I sat looking at his. My charming husband and I were as far apart from each other as possible while still occupying the same space.
As soon as we got situated, Dick’s attorney turned to him and said, ” Don’t you dare bring up that loaf of bread.” Immediately I smiled to myself as I realized how annoyed Dick’s lawyer must have been over his immature behavior.
However, the humor was short-lived as the rest of the meeting was no laughing matter.
During the course of the next few hours, (yes time flies even when you are not having fun) every time my lawyer proposed an offer to Dick, without batting an eye, he immediately refused. His attorney would then take Dick out into the hallway, discuss the matter and return. This meeting could have been an aerobic session for the two of them. That is how much they were up, down, in and in and out of the room.
At one point, completely frustrated with him, Dick’s attorney said, “I’m going to take him out in the hall and beat him up.” I looked at him and said, “Promise?” Flustered, he looked at me and adamantly said, “No, I don’t promise.” During that sojourn out into the corridor, my lawyer glanced at me and said, ” He has no patience for him anymore.” I thought to myself, How was I able to put up with this malarkey all these years?
As time was going by and nothing was getting accomplished, Dick’s legal counsel finally said, “If we don’t come up with a reasonable solution soon, we’re just going to present the case to the judge and let him decide.” Not long after that comment, we worked out an arrangement.
Dick had to give me more cash every two weeks to be used only for gas for my car and my entertainment expenses. Starting that day, Dick was required to pay for all of my other expenditures (something he had never done during our entire marriage). He was ordered to put enough money in the checkbook to cover all of Ashley’s and my bills. Mad as all hell, he turned to my lawyer and said, “She needs to get a job like everyone else and pay for these things herself.” My lawyer stared at him. Quietly and calmly he replied, ” We’re trying to get her the lifestyle she should have been living.”
The order was written up, signed by all the parties and presented to the judge. We had to try this arrangement for 30 days to see how it would work out.
I had my doubts that it would. I knew that Dick would probably spend down the money in the checkbook so I still wouldn’t be able to buy what I needed. But I had to give it a shot.
My lawyer told me that if things didn’t work out, I wasn’t bound to this agreement permanently just because I signed the document.
As I left the building to go home, I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Dick was withdrawing money from the cash machine near the entrance of the building. I had to take a double take to make sure I was seeing correctly.
Dick was unyielding in his stance against using ATM’s. Yet here he was and he was no novice at it either.
At that moment it became obvious to me that he was hiding money in another account. Since there was a restraining order prohibiting him from taking money from the account which had our (supposedly) life savings, he definitely had access to a different source of funds.
Where, how much and for how long were questions that were racing through my mind.
With a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, the reality hit me that I had no clue who this person was that I was calling my husband all these years.
What else was he doing behind my back that I’d be shocked to discover?