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A Red Letter Day

Today is my baby’s birthday–he’s 8.  His birthday is really rough for me.  6 years ago right now, I was spending my last night in the house I had designed with my (now ex) husband, having celebrated my baby’s 2nd birthday that day.  I was back home from my parents’, because I had promised my children I would be back by then.  But it was short-lived.  We signed our divorce stipulation the next day.  I find myself feeling really emotional on my child’s birthday as a result.  I spend a lot of time thinking about what I should have done differently, so that I could have been an actual part of his day-to-day life over the past 6 years.  I missed so much.  I am truly sickened thinking about all that I wasn’t there for.  I was around for the big stuff, of course–his first day of kindergarten, most birthdays, that sort of thing–but the smaller things I missed.  Losing his first baby teeth.  Learning to ride a bike.

My baby at 2, the month the divorce was final. . .

Putting bandaids on owies and kissing them better.  It’s really not enough for me, at this point in my life, to say that I’m here now, living just 15 minutes away, and I see him multiple times a week.  I messed up.  I should’ve done more at the time of my divorce to ensure that I could be a real part of my kids’ lives on a day to day basis.  I should have gotten custody.  And I would have, with a lawyer.

I did not.  How does that happen?  I’ve been asked this so many times.  I’ll say it again:  I did not have a lawyer for my divorce.  I didn’t think I had any money to pay one.  My husband had all the money, and he did hire a lawyer.  I was emotionally destroyed, trying hard to not hurt my kids any worse than “I” already was, and afraid to fight my ex on anything.  l did not have the strength to fight on my own.

You can learn a lesson from this.  GET A LAWYER.  Please.  I beg of you.  There has to have been a reason I went through (and continue to go through) the hell that my divorce has been.  Please please please don’t go it alone–at least get a consultation, some legal advice, or do some research on the law.  I have these great links posted here.  Read through the divorce statutes.  They’re located at Utah Code Ann. Title 30 (It’s called Husband and Wife).  Know what you’re entitled to as a bare minimum at least.  I didn’t even get that myself.

Don’t be like me.  My divorce would have been far less traumatic for myself and my children if I had just listened to the people who were telling me to slow down and do it right.  I was scared, and borderline suicidal, and didn’t think I could afford a lawyer.  You will NOT make that same mistake.

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  1. radrevere
    March 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I feel you pain. I totally get it. It really sucks to be taken advantage of. It’s things like this that make us into who we are. Who we are is how we decide to handle such situations, not just in the short term but more so in the long term. By my estimation I would say that you are handling it very well. Remember that right now, you are #1.

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