Angela went through a divorce in 2013.
What I Learned Going Through the Divorce Process
person found Angela 's experience helpful.
How it all began
In 2004, I lost my first husband of 15 years to a massive hemorrhagic stroke. Enter 2012, and the nephew of a longtime friend reached out to me on my Facebook page. As our conversations grew more in-depth, we found that we had a lot in common. After a whirlwind romance of (I’m ashamed to tell you) only two months, I allowed him to press me into the idea of marriage, and despite the objections of my family and friends, we eloped and began our new life together.
I won’t burden you with a long narrative of events, but know that by the beginning of week three, I discovered to my deep dismay that he was a drug addict, and to make matters worse, crack cocaine — the most virulent drug to which he could be addicted — was his drug of choice.
On the weekend of our first wedding anniversary, he disappeared with the car that I had helped him purchase not even a full week before. I tracked him down through an app that I had installed on his cellphone and found him in the company of a another woman.
The decision was made. He had to go.
The legalities of divorce
I’ve long heard horror stories about acrimonious divorces, and so with great trepidation I braced myself as I made the decision to contact a divorce attorney.
My attorney had me complete a pre-interview form, which was followed by a verbal, in-person interview that lasted all of 45 minutes. I paid him $200 ($90 for his fee, the balance for court costs). He suggested that I serve the papers on my husband myself in order to save on any additional out-of-pocket costs. He told me that as long as my husband signed the papers and didn’t dispute the filing that I could have my final decree in hand in less than 60 days. We filed on the basis of irreconcilable differences.
My husband and I had only been married a year, we had no children between us, and the overwhelming majority of the real property in the marriage belonged to me, so this made for a much less complicated issue than most.
I signed the papers and insisted that my husband sign. He finally acquiesced. We had a notary witness our signatures, and I personally delivered the papers back to my attorney’s office.
My attorney advised me that I would receive a letter once the filings were completed, and I could check with the court a couple of weeks after that to verify that the judge’s ruling was final.
Indeed, just as he stated, the clock rolled out to almost 60 days, and upon phoning the court, I was told that I could pick up my final decree at my convenience. I was given a choice of just a copy or an “official” copy, which was stamped with the seal of the court, and I chose the latter. It cost me all of $2.
• Choosing an attorney - My primary consideration in my divorce was cost. I made a Google search for “low-cost attorneys,” which returned a number of potential candidates whose offices were located close to my home. I then did further research by visiting the websites of those who had them (Those who did not were excluded from my consideration.) and pulled reviews from Avvo.com, a site that lists each individual attorney’s licensing history with the American Bar Association as well as reviews from clients who they have served. This was followed up with a phone call to each of my top three choices to see how responsive they were, how personable they were, and to determine whether our personalities would click. I was completely and absolutely pleased with my ultimate choice.
• Navigating the legal process - As described above, I had very little to do during the course of petitioning for my divorce. Basically, I completed my pre-interview questionnaire, answered my lawyer’s questions, paid him, served my husband, delivered the papers back to the attorney’s office, and waited. I still can’t believe that the whole process was just this simple.
• Issues encountered - Happily, aside from my perseverance in insisting that my husband sign the divorce papers, I encountered absolutely no issues at all.
Don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Getting out of my marriage was a lot less complicated than I expected, but divorce is a painful experience and one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. In addition to this, the road that leads to the dissolution of a marriage isn’t as smooth for most folks as it was for me.