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Friday, September 21, 2012

Big Announcement

I believe an identity crisis is also what I suffered. From dying my hair from light blond, to dark blond, brown, and then black - I eventually took my ponytail and some scissors and gave it a chop. After I did, I wasn't sure why I did. But, I guess I felt a happy median in the finished product. I guess that is, until next weekend, huh?!?

It was surprising to see that the simple "google" search for "why do girls change their hair after a breakup" came back with 11,900,000 results. I mean think about it, there was that shocking Brittney Spears episode when she shaved her head for the world to see. Now I didn't go to that extreme, or anything, but I did feel a strong desire for change. In some of my findings, it says a reason for that is to get back at your ex. That's not that case. Brent never really cared what I did to my hair, so that wouldn't really do anything to "get back". Another reason was, since one can't change the life situation, you can with your hair and move on. But, that sounds kind of silly. Although, you could look at it from the standpoint of maybe you could be a different person then you were with that guy. I guess. But, none of it really makes sense to me. But, yet I fell in that category for sure and it didn't "change", "help", or "escape" in anyway. Who would have thought, though, that one phone call could have changed it all?!?

My lawyer called me yesterday, I picked up the phone and said "So, am I a divorced woman now?". Her laugh was reassuring and her voice was kind, "Yes honey - you are." The judge made his ruling and effective on September 19, 2012, I am officially divorced. She went over some of the main points and then faxed over the documents. There it was in black and white. I always heard people say that when the whole thing is said and done, it's an emotional roller coaster like you've never experienced! My first thought was since I had just met with the priest about an annulment, I wanted to get him the information as soon as possible. My mom and I searched through some files to find my baptismal certificate, but to no avail. I called the church that performed this sacrament to request a copy and within a half an hour, the lady called back and told me it was ready for pick up. I was excited at that point, things were finally moving my way. It was about time to get Casie from school and after I got her, I made way to the other parish. I shared the information with both of my parents, and then asked them to not say anything until I could tell the others. Most importantly, my children. Even though they are young, they had a right to know. Tommy and Marissa didn't really understand. In fact, Marissa asked "So, does that mean we are going to get a new daddy?" I explained to them that they will only have one father and no one will ever take his spot. However, it's up to him to get better. And all we can do is pray and hope for the best. After I told them, there was some people that I really wanted to tell that really helped me through this process before I announced it "publicly".

Of course, my phone was blowing up from a "blocked" caller. Casie and I were laying in the bed reading. Which, by the way, she read her first book last night and we were so excited about!!!! Since the annoying phone calls, I turned my ringer off, but she saw it light up. Her big brown eyes looked over at me and she said "Mommy, that's my dad calling. I know because it says blocked. Can I pick it up?" Concerned, I hesitantly said "Casie you know he's breaking the law by calling us. He's not supposed to. But, if that's what you really want to do, go ahead!" She picked it up and from what I could hear, he sounded sober. Here's how the conversation went:

Casie: Hi Daddy!

Brent: Noodle? Is that you? Hey baby! How are you?

Casie: Good! Guess what I'm reading a book, do you want to hear?

Brent: Reading?!? Wow! That's good. Of course, go ahead. [She started reading him Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss] That's great, baby. Where's Mongo and Marissa? [Mongo is what he calls Tommy for some reason.]

Casie: They are taking naps. It's just me and mommy.

Brent: Can I talk to her?

Casie: [She giggled.] You know she won't want to.

Brent: Well ask her, if she says no that's OK.

[She asked, I said no.]

Casie: So, I talked to your mom the other day.

Brent: I know, she called and told me that she sent your brother and sister birthday cards.

Casie: I also heard you and Mommy are divorced.

Brent: That's between your mom and I.

Casie: Well, now my mom is getting a job and we are getting our own place - far, far away.

Brent: You mean around Granny's house?

Casie: Nope! Far, far away! [Then, she broke down and started crying. I encouraged her to talk about her feelings.] Daddy, I'm really sad that I only get to hear you and not see you. It makes me want to cry.

Brent: Baby, don't cry! I will see you sooner then you think. Everyday I'm getting better.

Casie: You've told me that before.

Brent: I promise, baby.

When she hung up, she rolled over in my arms. We both started crying. I said "Sweet baby, please don't take to heart what he's saying. He's a sick man and sometimes can't fill his promises. All we can do is pray for him." There those big brown eyes looked up at me and said "I know, Mommy. I will probably never see him again. We have each other to get through this, and that's what family is for! But, I will pray for him - like I do every night. You know, the last thing he gave me was my Tinkerbell-Minnie Mouse stuffed animal. That's why I always sleep with it. Because it reminds me of him. When I hug it, I hope it's him."

To hear that, I can't explain how bad it hurt to see that sweet little girl suffer. She's wiser beyond her years, and has endured more then a 5 year old should! In a way, I'm glad she talked to him. It made me emotional. And if it did that to me, I hope it was a million times harder for him. Maybe that's what he needs to get clean. I don't know. Even after everything he did to me, I don't hate him, and for my children's sake, and the rest of his children, I hope he can pull through this and live a sober life.

This morning my father had surgery to have a knee replacement. It was kind of risky because he is a cancer patient and his blood count was extremely low. However, the doctors gave the thumbs up and everything went well. However, during the actual surgery, my mom, uncle, and sister were there. I was excited to tell my uncle, because him and his wife went with me to the trial, so I thought over breakfast was a good time to share my news. After I left the hospital, I reached out to the rest of my family and friends. And then finally broke the news via Facebook. A simple post of "OK, the cats out of the bag .... this girl is officially divorced!!! Bye-bye Brenty!!! Hello, the rest of my life!!!" is what I put. Within a couple of hours of posting it, it had 65 likes and a bunch of comments offering "congratulations" and support. It's amazing and feels good to have that love! Every comment, every like - makes me smile.

So, two things. The emotional roller coaster. I was so overcome by wanting the annulment, that it turned my attention to getting those papers submitted. Which, they were!!! But, I guess overall I don't really feel any different. This was so long in the making, that it was just another bridge to cross. And the other thing: the judge's ruling. Overall, I feel it was very fair. Here's a quick summary.

Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

Motion for Continuance: On August 9, 2012 (the day of trial), Brent filed a motion to continue trial (meaning pass to a later date) because he had relapsed on his sobriety. This was not the first time! On a hearing for a motion that I filed to hold him in contempt, was originally scheduled for October 2011. It was postponed twice because Brent voluntarily checked himself into the hospital. The actual trial was originally scheduled in March 2012, but was postponed until May to give Brent more time to prepare. It was then continued until August at the request of my attorney. Since the whole case has been pending for more then three years and there was no legitimate reason that it has not concluded - motion was denied.

Statutory Proof: This basically went through the genetics of when we were married, when we were separated, that the marriage is irretrievably broken, our three minor children, and that I am not currently pregnant.

Stipulations and Agreements: This was what we agreed to prior to the record: Sole custody awarded to me, Brent can resume supervised visitation once he presents results from a hair follicle test, Brent can keep his boat, his summer cottage in Beulah, Michigan, his father's estate, his vehicle, and two financial accounts that are solely in his name.

Property Division: The Court orders that our marital home is to be sold and for Brent to keep current the mortgage, as well as the upkeep of the home. Both parties are to share equally in any profit or loss as a result of the sale. 

I can't touch his retirement.

The vehicles - since my parents gave me the Explorer, it's considered non-marital and I can retain the proceeds from the sale. The Acadia (that's the one I sold while he was hospitalized), it was considered marital property, but the proceeds were awarded to me as compensation for the personal property that was sold without my knowledge or consent.

Certain property/furniture that I requested from the home has been awarded to me and he has 15 days to return them.

Debt Allocation: There was apparently a loan that Brent took and secured with a lien on the Acadia. I knew nothing about it and never received a penny of it. I sold the vehicle without knowledge of this and assumed it was a clear title because of the inquiry through the county clerks office. Brent was requesting to the Courts that I remain liable for that loan. That motion was denied and he is solely responsible.

In February of 2011, Brent purchased me some jewelry from a local Jewelry store. He was requesting that there is an outstanding balance and again I should be liable for it, even though "it was a gift to me". Motion denied - Brent is responsible for that one as well.

Child Support, Tuition, and Related Contempt Motions: Because of the cost of Marissa's "sponsored dependent" (she was born after he "retired"), I need to investigate the availability of her  insurance.

I was awarded maintenance for 12 months.

And the child support is reduced to only the Social Security Benefits that my children receive from Brent's "disability". As far as the child support that he didn't pay from April -August and the portion of tuition that he agreed to for Tommy and Casie last year has not been paid. He is still responsible for it and held in contempt. He has to pay me within 30 days of the entry. If he fails, he will be sentenced to serve 180 days in jail.

Brent is responsible for 55% of any work-related childcare and extraordinary medical expenses.

The court cannot order parochial education unless the public schools are unable to meet the children's special needs. Therefore, I'm responsible for the tuition here on out. I knew that would happen. Just thought, just maybe, there might be a shred of dignity left in Brent and he would want to keep the children at their current school and assist with it. But, that's OK. I will take care of it.

That was basically the gist of the whole thing. Accordingly, it is hereby ordered and adjured that the marriage is dissolved!!!!!! All other pending motions denied. So, guess what that mean?!?!?! THIS BLOG MUST GO ON. Brent's motion to shut this site down, has been denied!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

There you go, I've shared my life with you. Now, it's time to pick up and move on. I hope you continue to follow me on this journey called life.

God Bless and Much Love!!!!

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