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Who knew spending my day off in law library would mean one step closer to divorce. As I look back on hiring an attorney for my divorce, I realize I made so many mistakes due to lack of knowledge. I filed for divorce in the Fall of 2008 and moved out of my home in 2010. It was far too long. I had no idea that every segment of the time with my attorney was timed and billed. This meant every email, phone calls, mailings, time in court, and filing documents. In addition, to my divorce, she handled all the paperwork for child custody. The custody agreement was a waste of time as it was in effect for one year. As two years passed and there was deliberate defiance with trying to sell the property -I wanted out of being married any longer. It was senseless to go back to court and spend more money to sell a property. I started thinking about my insurance policy and the fact I was still legally bound to this person. As a spouse, I was responsible to some extent for the other party and vice versa. The worst thing imagined is having this individual make any decisions related to my health. I made the decision to be completely honest with my attorney on the need to save on my legal costs. My costs were quickly inching up to 5 digits and counting and she suggested her paralegal assist me with filing the remaining paperwork moving forward. I scheduled a day off from work and spent my entire day in the law library in the municipal building in Chester County.
I made the decision to be completely honest with my attorney on the need to save on my legal costs. My costs were quickly inching up to 5 digits and counting and she suggested her paralegal assist me with filing the remaining paperwork moving forward. I scheduled a day off from work and spent my entire day in the law library. My plan B was to tackle filing the remaining paperwork on my own. I scheduled a day and spent the entire day in the law library. Shortly, after I arrived in the library I learned none of the paperwork was available electronically. I had to look for the forms in the respective law book and manually type each form. This was extremely time-consuming but necessary to close that chapter.
After typing the forms, making copies, going to the prothonotary for a time stamp and mailing- the clock begins. I did not expect to receive a counter to the divorce. When I received a call from the paralegal to let me know I was missing a form, I thought I had to start all over again. The paralegal was concerned the judge would not accept paperwork with different filing dates. She filed all of the paperwork and the judge signed off on the divorce in December of 2012. I received my divorce decree in the mail in January of 2013.
I applaud my attorney for trying to settle with the property. In amicable settlements, this is standard. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. After two failed attempts in court to get the house sold, I gave up. It was more important for me to get the divorce finalized even if I missed the opportunity to sell the house. The one lesson I learned is that the will to get something accomplished far exceeds holding out for material goods. A divorce is tricky but time is of the essence and the least amount of time spent the better mentally and financially. The wedding is less than an hour but a divorce can last for years. My issue is the hold it puts on moving forward. You are legally bound to a person you want to sever ties with permanently. This was a bone of contention for me as I wanted to rename my emergency contact, list my children as beneficiaries for investments and insurance. I wanted to know all of these areas were covered by individuals with a vested interest in my well-being.
In some cases, there is a struggle with settling finances, property, investments, pensions, 401K, etc. For me, I had to forgo the fight to properly sell my marital property, which ended up going into foreclosure. The seven-year mark on my credit far exceeds still being legally married. If the time is dragging, be proactive with your attorney and discuss options. It is difficult to move forward if you are still married. When you say “I’m divorced” it is a true sign the past is behind you legally.