I thought it was over. When I divorced my ex over a year and a half ago, I assumed that it was for good. However, while heading on a family outing with my now-fiance, his daughter, and mine, I got a call from my mom, who had just received a letter in the mail from the courthouse in the city in which my ex lives. I asked her to open it. He was trying to claim that our divorce should have been done in the state in which he now lives, instead of the state in which we lived at the time. Obviously, this is ridiculous. Surely this will never go anywhere, right?! I mean, a divorce is final. You can’t go back a year later can you?! Well, you might be surprised!
(I’m purposely leaving the states names out, for anonymity, though my story is so bizarre, if someone who knows me were to read this blog, they’d KNOW it would have to be me. How many people have gone through an attempted un-divorce and re-divorce, as I call it. I apologize that this must be made harder to read than it has to be.)
I called my lawyer on Monday morning after having faxed him the document. He was stunned. He said it was bizarre and that he had never seen anyone try to do this. He didn’t KNOW what might come of it. He also told me that he couldn’t represent me in that state so I’d have to find another lawyer. After calling several lawyers, only to be denied, I finally received a call back from a lawyer who could take my case. I met with him the next week. I only had a few weeks to respond. He also didn’t know what might happen but he said he had seen that happen before a
time or two. He told me that he thought that the court would throw it out because the new state didn’t have anything to do until the previous state threw it out. So, I paid him my $800 and he filed the appropriate
paperwork. He told me that it should be thrown out. We waited. And waited. And waited. The day of the hearing came and still no news of it being thrown out. Still, the lawyer assured me that I need NOT drive to the new state until I heard from him. Sure enough, about 9:00am, I received a call from my lawyer stating that it had been thrown out that day. Apparently, my ex’s attorney stopped it, the day OF. That is my ex’s MO. The court said that there was nothing they could do until the divorce was nullified from the previous state.
Fast forward a month or two: Sure enough, I received paperwork stating that my ex was trying to appeal the divorce in the state in which the divorce was actually done. I called my former lawyer again. He said he’d represent me. Another $2000. He filed the paperwork and we waited. In a few weeks, we got notice of the hearing. I couldn’t believe they were actually hearing this BS! But they were. Two days before the hearing, my ex hand-delivered a letter to my lawyer’s office. He wanted to postpone the hearing so he could have time to get a lawyer. He said in his request that he couldn’t afford one and needed time to find one. We decided that we didn’t care whether it ever got heard. But, we never did hear from the court.
On the day of the hearing, I was told by my lawyer to gather information proving that we were indeed residents of the state in which we were divorced. I had several bills and court documents showing that he filed for divorce with the address of the state in which we lived and were divorced. He claimed that we had never lived in the state, only in the state in which he now lives. So I gathered my information. I brought a neighbor who knew where we lived and if it appeared that we stayed overnight most nights. I was ready. SURELY this wouldn’t go anywhere, but it HAD gotten this far! Who knows!
I went early. My lawyer was there shortly after. We chatted in another room while we waited. Time came for the hearing. He wasn’t there. We decided to go ahead and have the trial without him since we were already there and he couldn’t come back and try it again if it had already been decided on. We proved sufficiently that we were in fact residents of the state. The judge agreed and gave me $800 I’d asked for in court costs.
A month later, I found out that my ex had APPEALED the decision. He believed that he should have been given the postponement and that he tried to cancel the hearing on the day of the hearing (seeing a pattern here?). So, I was livid. I didn’t want to pay another $2000 to appeal this. I decided to represent myself. It worked out well and I saved $2000. I called a friend who is a lawyer. He doesn’t take cases in family court anymore but he said that divorces have a 30 day appeal time, usually. Sure enough, mine was 30 days. It should have NEVER gone anywhere because my ex tried it over A YEAR AFTER our divorce was final! Two lawyers and a judge didn’t mention this. That was my first argument. They, I refuted all of his claims. His first issue was that he should have been granted the postponement. I attached evidence that he has a history of doing this, both during our divorce and since. His argument #2 was that we were never bonafide residents. I included several attachments that showed that my ex is a liar and contradicted himself on many occasions, including his residence before and during the divorce. His argument #3 was that his motion to dismiss should have been granted. I couldn’t say much to this but questioned whether the motion was made before or after our hearing. I knew that he had taken our daughter to a museum that day instead of showing up at the hearing.
Weeks later, I received good news in the mail! The appealate judge threw out the appeal! They said that if he hadn’t already done so, he should pay me my $800 from before. Of course, I’ve yet to receive that, months later, but him making a fool of himself to the court that will be deciding our REAL issues is payment enough!!
Un-Divorce Update: See Supreme Court Appeal. Ex is now appealing to Supreme Court, leading to me keeping our daughter until it is dropped as NO court currently has jurisdiction over us. It was either me keep her or he keep her until he dropped it. I figured he’d drop it to get her back. He didn’t. It’s not scheduled to be over until the end of September 2015. It is now August. Scary but I’m sure the appeal won’t go anywhere. I don’t THINK the judge can/will find me in contempt but I’m not entirely sure! Very scary but it was that or chance never seeing our daughter again, and I’m NOT going to let that happen!