I know….don’t get your hopes up.
Tomorrow is a hearing in front of a “Master” regarding distribution of property. This is how a contentious divorce works in PA. If the parties are not amenable to binding arbitration, the process is broken into 3 parts: support, custody and equitable distribution. On the surface this seems great. Each Master is an expert in his/her area, so theoretically fair decisions can be made. This, however, is where it falls apart:
- Before you can get in front of a Judge, who reviews the entire case, you must see each of these 3 “Masters”. The idea is that at any step you mght settle. The reality is different.
- How can a “Master” make an informed decision on 1/3 of the issues?
- These 3 hearings drag out the entire process, adding anywhere from 6 months to 2 years before the couple can get to an actual Judge. Each of these hearings leaves you with what the Master thinks the judge will do, leaving serious wiggle room.
- The time it takes to have all of these hearings add substantially to the cost of the divorce.
All of that said, my attorney is hopeful for tomorrow. We have our hearing in front of the Equitable Distribution Master. In PA property is not “divided”. It is distributed equitably, taking into account a plethora of factors, like what role each played in the marriage, who has the ability to continue earning wages, etc. All of this weighs in my favor, a factor I hope is not lost on my spouse.
Once again, I have submitted an offer to my spouse, including some concessions on my part, but also referencing the truth’s revealed in the deposition my spouse had in November. If he and his attorney look at what happened during that deposition it should be a no-brainer that the offer I have put on the table is not only fair but is reasonable.
While my attorney feels positive, I am trying to not get my hopes up. If I have learned nothing else from my 25 years with my spouse it is this: He Must Win. The Narcissist s Always Right. Unfortunately, he neither wins or comes off as right in my settlement offer. Ouch.
The other issue, the issue my attorney believes is more substantial, is the issue of the GF. It is entirely possible that she is pushing him to marry her, and that he doesn’t want to do that. If that is the case, whether the agreement is reasonable or not no longer matters. All that will matter in that scenario is that he Not Get Divorced. I will be on the hook forever, as I am the only thing standing between him and another marriage.
So, I am not getting my hopes up. I am trying to ignore the fact that my mortgage has been modified (did I tell you that? (Whoooohoooo!) This modification takes the foreclosure off of the table, and makes the mortgage affordable for me. This is a Win for me, perhaps the 1st Win since I married this man 25 years ago. Certainly the 1st Win since the divorce started.
So, as much as I’d like to think that 2017 will be my Year, as much as I’d like to believe that tomorrow I’ll finally sign a divorce agreement, as much as I’d like to imagine the For Sale sign on my front lawn, I’m maintaining what some would call a negative attitude. I am choosing to believe that nothing good will come of tomorrow’s hearing. I assume that I’ll leave the hearing tomorrow feeling despondent and incredulous at the suggestions being made.
Self preservation? Absolutely! And yes, there is a small part of me already celebrating my divorce, but damn…….I wish she’d shut up. Just in case.