How a Contested Divorce Can Turn More Chaotic and Confusing for Spouses

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Court of Law | 0 comments

What started to be a love-filled marriage for Terry and Murielle is now just a memory overshadowed by a bitter and hostile divorce procedure that has dragged on for five years, been handled by four different judges, involved six different divorce attorneys and which has cost about $400,000.00 in court fees, experts’ fees, lawyer’s fees (Murielle’s lawyer, actually, since Terry represented himself) temporary spousal support and copying tons of documents, like credit card statements, bank statements, income tax returns, life insurance policies, savings statements, and so many others. All payments, by the way, were shouldered by Terry, even payment of his wife’s lawyer’s fee.

Terry and Murielle were married in 1989. After their second child was born, Terry started his own business. They lived extravagantly, vacationing in different countries, like Tahiti and France (where Murielle was born). Before they reached their 20th year anniversary, however, the couple fell out of love. According to Murielle, her husband was too controlling; she also did not like his large gun collection. Terry, on the other hand, though that she drank and spent too much. Both just stopped talking to each other until, in 2008, they filed for divorce.

The only real reason why the case had dragged on so much longer than it should have was alimony. In 2008, after their divorce was filed, Terry’s alimony offer to Murielle included a $5,400 monthly payment until his retirement, half of everything in their million-dollar home and $50,000 cash. Murielle’s lawyer, however, made her decline (not just this offer but all other offers as well) telling her that she can have more. In 2012, after the costly legal fees and all other expenses, and with Terry’s personal business almost bankrupt, the topic of alimony was once again brought up. That time, though, Terry’s former $5,400 monthly alimony offer went down to just one digit: 0.

Prior to the filing of the divorce case, Terry’s business made $250,000 annually. He thought of settling their divorce in court because he believed that a divorce court was the best place where grievances could be smoothed out and order, restored. However, after four years in court and still with no hint as to the possible end of their divorce case, Terry began seeing the system of marital justice as nothing more than just a journey into a period of chaos and confusion.

It was on Terry’s 55th birthday (in 2013) when he finally received the court’s decision on his divorce case. The family judge decided that their house be sold immediately and that he pay his former wife $1,500 monthly alimony; however, since he has child custody (due to Murielle’s drinking problem), Murielle owed him $525 a month in child support. All still unpaid legal fees (for Murielle’s attorney and her former forensic accountant) will have to be paid by Murielle herself.

Terry considered the decision both a relief and a victory. A relief because he was divorced, finally! A victory, in a way, because he was spared from paying costly alimony. Had the decision been made by the first judge who handled their case (and who also appeared like he did not like Terry), things would be different; he would have been made to pay more or spend time behind bars.

In its website, The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, states that spouses can always turn to the courts which can help them resolve issues they cannot agree on. It is important to note, however, that when deciding to file divorce in a court, it should be made with the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney whose aim is to help spouses resolve and settle all divorce-related issues, not make money from the case by prolonging it as much as they can.

A divorce proceeding can be an emotionally charged experience; thus, a lawyer adding to the problem should have no part in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *