Why I went to the hearing

As painful as the decision to divorce was to me, J and I had worked together amicably to work out the details. J had contacted a lawyer at some point to see what the ramifications would be. When she told me she wanted a divorce, she suggested that we use this woman (or another) as a mediator. Our understanding was that a mediator would work as a neutral third party that would be there simply to make sure everything was done legally, dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's. 

It turned out that since J went to see her previously seeking advice, that this lawyer (I'll call her Gina) could no longer act as a neutral party. J decided to retain her as her lawyer, but tried to keep her as neutral as possible. Gina drafted all the necessary paperwork based on what J and I discussed. I chose not to retain a lawyer, mostly because I trusted J, but also because I didn't want to spend money on a divorce I had no interest in taking place. I did have someone "in the know" look over the paperwork at some point to make sure I didn't miss some hidden phrase. 

All the financial details had been worked out long ago, sometime back in October of 2009. One of the big pieces of the puzzle was the sale of our home, but we had agreed how things would be divided up before it even hit the market. We were fortunate to have it sell amazingly quickly, and much of the "what if" details in the paperwork were resolved before they were ever filed. 

Gina redrafted the agreement to update it now that the house had been sold. And then it seemed nothing happened for 2 - 3 months. In February, I called to see what was going on, and the answer was apparently "nothing". After my call, things moved forward again and the papers were filed February 10th. There was a 90 day waiting period before the divorce could be made final. 

Honestly, I expected to hear something about a scheduled court date before then, but nothing was said even two weeks after the 90 days was up. I was planning a trip to Seattle later in June, so I called J and mentioned that we could schedule the court date then. 

Part of the reason I offered to attend the hearing was my reflex to be practical, and since I already had a trip planned... But I think my original intention was for both of us to be there. For some reason it seemed important for us both to be there when the marriage ended, just like we were together when it started. I also wanted to be there for a bit of closure. I wasn't really there when the decision to divorce happened, and I didn't want to be absent once again when it became final. 

Of course the discussion about the divorce hearing was loaded with emotion, and when I spoke with J on the phone, I did not clearly explain my reasons for wanting to attend. J did not have a burning need to attend, and I did not force the issue. By the end of the conversation, I ended up agreeing to go on my own.

I almost immediately regretted my offer to go to the hearing on my own. Not that anything should be expected to be "fair" in all this, but it didn't seem fair that she didn't need to be there to "face the music", as it were. But at that point, I had no idea what she was feeling, so I may have been attaching feelings that weren't there.  

I still had no interest in the divorce, but the sense of limbo while waiting for it to become final was almost as bad. The process seemed to have dragged on for years and it was as if a Band Aid was being removed hair by hair. So another big reason I was the one to get things moving forward again was to rip off the Band Aid and end the period of limbo. I suppose it felt good on some level to be taking some initiative, but it still seemed odd that I should be the one to push things forward. 

J and I ended up exchanging some e-mails a couple of days before the hearing. I told her all that I have written here. 

* That the reason I volunteered to go to the hearing was not because I had come to see things as she did.
* That I still didn't think divorce was the answer, but that waiting for the ax to fall was tortuous and unhealthy.
* That I didn't understand what all the delays had been about, when she never seemed to question her decision. 

Again, I will paraphrase...She let me know that she was surprised and confused about my offer to attend the hearing. It was always her intention to be the one to finish the process, but that she did not press the issue after my offer. She had not been looking forward to this day, and that this is what was behind much of the delay. She does not expect me to see things as she does, but she hopes I will find peace with it someday. 

My belief is that although she didn't seem to be questioning her decision, that she kicked each step and confrontation down the road both to avoid hurting me, and because she did not want to face them herself. Of course it didn't avoid any hurt, and I doubt the delay did her much good either. I sort of understand her motivations - avoiding pain is a natural instinct. But I still don't understand it. But without spending a day inside her head, I won't ever understand why she did the things they way she did. 

We certainly did a poor job of communicating while we were married, and I wrote to her in part to change that pattern. I am glad we cleared the air a little bit before the hearing took place. The e-mails did give me a slight bit of insight into what she was feeling, and I told her they might make the hearing the tiniest fraction bit easier. I'll discuss the hearing in my next post. 


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