Monday, May 11, 2015

Well, that was unexpectedly pleasant.

I am now officially a single person.

In terms of my day-to-day life, I have been for a while now.  But today it's legal and I'm back to the last name I was born with and it's all there in black and white.

Today J and I went for our final hearing.  It was a little bit alarming when the judge called us up and said, "so what is it that you're expecting from me today?"

"Uh, a final decree, Your Honor?"  I responded.

"But have you filed anything other than the initial petition?  I don't see any other documents."

"Yes, sir, we filed the financial disclosures with the petition, and then submitted our settlement agreement and parenting plan last week."

And after checking with the clerk, our documents were found and we were ready to go.

The hearing was pretty basic.  The judge reviewed the terms of our agreements, and then had us answer a series of questions, confirming that we understood what was in the documents and that we didn't have any unresolved issues that needed to be settled.  Neither of us is seeking alimony, we are in full agreement on all financial matters, and we are in full agreement with respect to the custody and care of the children.

It was us saying, "yes, sir ... yes, sir ... correct, Your Honor ... yes, sir ..." for about 10 minutes.  We were asked to swear that we believed that the agreements we had reached were fair and that everything relating to the children was in their best interests.  We swore.

The judge then pronounced our marriage dissolved.  But before he let us go, he had something he wanted to tell us.

He said that he wanted to thank us and to commend us for coming to court having agreed upon everything, and for coming to agreements, particularly relating to the children, that were so obviously carefully thought out, even-handed, and good for them.  Apparently, it's the rare divorcing couple who is able to do that, even though I truly cannot conceive of proceeding any other way.

"It's people like you who make my job easy, and who understand that the two most important people in this case are not the people in this courtroom, but rather are Ezekiel and Josephine.  It is clear that you have been able to put aside whatever issues you may have between the two of you and focus on them, and as a result, you have given them the best possible chance to grow up happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and secure in the love of both their parents."

I said, "thank you so much for saying that, Your Honor.  That's incredibly kind of you."

I thought he would dismiss us at that point, but he went on like that for another three or four minutes. It was really astounding.

For whatever reason, and even though there was nothing rational about feeling this way, I was very anxious before the hearing.  I wanted to be out of the marriage, and we've been de facto split up, including dividing the assets and living with the custody schedule, for ten months.  So nothing was happening today except a judge decreeing that what had already happened was official.  Even so, part of me was a little bit sad.  I don't like failing at anything.

But we both walked out of that court room on top of the world, feeling like we could proceed with our respective futures because we had dealt with our past in a compassionate, fair, reasonable way.

Not a bad Monday, all things considered.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! EVERYONE is super nervous before those hearings, in my experience--and that includes my personal experience! Hearing judges give that speech to my clients is one of the best parts of family law and it still brings a little tear to my eye when we present a custody agreement. I'm very happy for you that both you and Jason had it in you to do it the right way. It takes two! Divorce party?!