Learn from my Fail

So, just thought I would stick my head back in and mention that my divorce was final today.  I learned several important things during this process.

1. Do NOT choose your lawyer based on how UN-slimy they seem. Big mistake.
I should have chosen the lawyer who seemed likely to castrate puppies with his bare teeth and sell used clunkers to little old ladies in his spare time. Not the guy that was nice.
In addition to not being very effective, my lawyer FORGOT to tell me that the final court date was today. So I got a phone call about 2 hours before I was supposed to show up in front of the judge.  And saw the final settlement for the first time at the courthouse.

2. If one is conflict averse, and one’s spouse is conflict averse, not talking about things does not really avoid conflict in the long term.
This seems blatantly obvious after the fact, but thought I would point it out to any other clueless schmucks like me.

3.  If I had been smarter in the beginning, and asked more questions, things might have worked out better.
Or not, really–a lot of crap went wrong that was completely out of my control. I didn’t know menopause would make me nutso.  Or that my dream job would be a nightmare with a sociopath employee that went on to terrorize us with animal parts and break-ins.
But a couple of really frank conversations about how we both managed money and what assets we had BEFORE we moved in together might have made a lot of problems more manageable later on.

4. There are no do-overs or an “undo” button IRL.
This about sums it up:

12 thoughts on “Learn from my Fail

  1. wow. that sucks. A (smarty-pants) radio guy I listen to now and then said his grandmother summarized it this way:

    Hire a lawyer you would not have in your home.

    He agreed: hire the meanest, most aggressive, conniving, nasty creature you can find. Probably easier said than done, but your experience certainly supports that view.

    I’m sorry it didn’t work well for you. Must be hugely frustrating. Gross incompetence makes my head explode.

  2. they lawyer i hired for my divorce ended up fucking my husband’s lawyer and bailed at the last minute due to “conflict of interest”..um…yeah…ya think…

  3. Wretched experience to be sure but…. Turn the page and enjoy the spouse-free life.

    Thanks for being bug girl, incidentally. I love the info and opinion.

  4. Experience is what we call our mistakes…and mistakes are sometimes the only way we learn.

    I’m sorry you had to go through that, Bug_Girl. I hope your way is smoother from here on…
    ((Bug_Girl))

  5. 1) I’m still married, but at one point we had to hire a lawyer for our son. Any public defender is more on the ball than most of the attorneys we met. Too bad you can’t get one of those for a divorce. Your advice is spot on. Don’t be lulled in by those paintings on the walls of their office that scream “class.” You want a lawyer who can scream.
    2) A therapist once told my husband and I that we were the two most conflict-averse couple she’d ever met. Problems don’t go away – they just fester.
    3) Before we got married, my husband and I needed to take a compatibility test on our attitude toward money/spending/risk taking. Money issues are major and when you’re not on the same page (not even in the same book), it doesn’t bode well for “happily every after.”
    4) Glad THAT’s behind you. All the best to you.

  6. I hope 1. is a bit of hyperbole. My guideline in most of life matters, including the divorce I’ve been through too, is that while I want to win, I do not want to win at any cost. Never at any cost. Many things are more important than winning. Of course, this put me at a disadvantage to my ex-wife, who was a lot more willing to raise the stakes and play the game of “chicken”. But it was still what I had to do.

    If I need a lawyer, which I sadly might one day, I will not follow your advice. I’ll take the smart, thoughtful guy who has a long history of representing us who don’t want a fight. I just hope I can afford to.

  7. Hi Harald,
    That begs the question of how to find a good lawyer. My few experiences with the legal profession have only reinforced the stereotypes. I.e They’ve been unpleasant. (No, I haven’t been divorced, but I’ve had to sue an employer under Workers Compensation and I had legal issues buying our current house becuase the seller’s lawyer was a dick and was trying to squeeze us dry.)

    I’d love to have a lawyer like the one you mention: “…smart, thoughtful guy who has a long history of representing us who don’t want a fight.”

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