In addition to divorcing Dick, there was another relationship that needed dissolving as well.
I had to find a new attorney.
When it was clear that I had no option but to file for divorce, I hired the first attorney that was recommended to me.
At the time, I knew nothing about family lawyers, and frankly I didn’t have any interest in learning a great deal about them.
I assumed that if the domestic violence organization that I was receiving counseling from endorsed this legal professional, he was good, solid and would do his best to make sure I was well protected and represented.
*And you know what they say about assuming… “Assume makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’
Also, I didn’t have the luxury of shopping around. I needed to take action swiftly to protect the funds that Dick had liquidated from our joint account.
Plus, I was in major denial and scared beyond belief.
Had Dick not pulled what he did with our finances, I would have honored our vows and stayed married for the duration.
for better or worse…
for richer or poorer…
in sickness and in health…
till death do us part…
The major problem was that I was the one getting worse, becoming poorer and sicker and had I stayed much longer in that situation, it would have killed me.
I definitely got the raw end of the deal.
But, even with the writing on the wall, I didn’t dare think of rocking the boat.
The fear of the unknown kept me obediently and complacently in place.
While at the time I filed for divorce, I was receiving guidance, support and therapy from an agency that provided help to women living with domestic abuse and their goal was to get me to file for divorce and move on with my life, I never thought in my heart of hearts that I would actually take the plunge and end my marriage.
I was great at talking about the plans I was GOING to make, the steps I would take and the timeframe it would transpire. I was excellent at telling the counselor what I thought she would want to hear, but I never had any intention of carrying out.
In my mind, it was never the right time. Something always seemed to come up that took precedence over ending my marriage.
Let’s face it: I was not looking forward to uprooting my life (as painful as it was, it was what I knew) for the unknown.
Where would I live?
Would I be able to make it on my own financially?
What would happen to my kids?
Would I be alone the rest of my life?
But when push came to shove, and that’s what it took for me to take action, I had to put my faith in the system and trust that my attorney would take care of me, protect me and work to make my outcome a successful one.
However, over time I began to question whose side was my lawyer really on.
In the beginning, he was Johnny on the Spot.
At our initial meeting, he was kind, caring supportive and promised me that he would take care of everything.
He started out very strongly and carried out what he initially vowed that he would.
We went to court immediately to file for dissolution of marriage and to put a restraining order on the money that Dick had taken over as his.
After that, things went downhill quickly. He made promises that he didn’t keep. He botched up the temporary financial support that I was to receive while the divorce process was going on. Instead of having Dick put funds in an account in my name, we shared a joint checkbook. Let me tell you, that didn’t work at all!!!
I was getting screwed over not only from Dick, but from my lawyer as well. It seemed that he was doing a wonderful job helping Dick’s cause. Mine — not so much.
The writing was on the wall that I needed new counsel. The problem was that I had no access to our finances. Attorneys won’t work under the promise of , ” I will pay you when the divorce is over and I can access our funds. ” Aside from the initial free session to determine if the arrangement is a good fit, as soon as you say, “I do,” the clock starts ticking and the fees start adding up. A retainer must be paid before anything will be done.
Where was I going to get several thousands of dollars???
AS much as I hated to do this, I asked friends and family for help. Everyone politely refused.
I didn’t know where to turn.
Finally, I was able to get an interest free loan from the domestic agency where I was a client.
I researched and found an attorney who a former high school classmate used and highly recommended. My male classmate assured me that his counsel got him what he wanted and played hard with his ex-wife.
I needed someone tough who would stand up for me and fight for what I deserved. As much as I didn’t like hearing what his ex went through, I needed a bull-dog on my side.
My strategy had to change. No more Mrs. Nice Gal.
When I made the switch, things started happening swiftly.
He secured a trial date in case we weren’t able to come up with a settlement on our own, set up depositions, and subpoenaed Dick’s financial information.
Finally, things were moving forward instead of staying stagnant.
But with change, came a new set of issues…