Friday, December 16, 2005

A Long & Winding, Twisted, Messed-Up Road

In July I filed for divorce. By that time I had been separated from my husband for over a year but it was an expensive process so it took a while to get to that point. I thought all I had to do was file & be done with it. Nope. I had to have him served within a certain amount of time and then we had to meet with a domestic facilitator because we didn't have legal representation. He was served in August and in September we had our conference.

Mike, the mediator, explained that if we agreed on everything that we could file a non-contested, non-appearance divorce packet and we wouldn't have to pay anything more nor return to court for anything. Sounded like the way to go since coming down to the courthouse was a pain. We filled out the paperwork, turned it in the end of October and on November 10th, the divorce was supposed to be final. We even had a little party at Derek's that night to celebrate.

So imagine my surprise when on November 30th instead of getting my certified copy of the divorce papers in the mail I got a Delay Prevention Notice saying that I had 30 days to file a Notice To Set And To In Fact Set (whatever the hell that is) and I still needed to have a status conference!! I was incensed. I had done all of this. And now it looked like I was still married. But I had already had a party!!

I called the courthouse that Monday and asked the clerk what the paper I had received meant. He said that I needed to have a status conference. "Is that where you meet with the man in room 101 and he goes through all the different paperwork you need to fill out, blah blah blah?" The clerk was silent for a minute then said, " might be." He finally looked up my case in the computer and said there was a problem and gave me the number for the domestic facilitator manager. I called her and left a message. She didn't call me back until the next morning and when I told her what was going on, she sounded confused and said she was handing the case over to Mike, the man we had dealt with. She saw no reason for the delay. She would have Mike call me back or she would do it herself.

By Friday I had heard nothing so I called the manager - I got this message: "Hi, this is Katie Pierson and it's Friday, December 9th. Today is my last day...." Oh, crap!! Luckily, she left the numbers of both domestic facilitators so I called them both and left a message. No one called me back. So on Wednesday, seeing as I was running out of time on that 30 days, I went down to the courthouse to speak with Mr. Mike.

He did a cursory glance at my case on the computer and did not see the reason for the delay. He did see, however, that on November 9th, the day before the divorce was to be final, that Nicole, his partner in facilitating, had gone over our paperwork, approved it and had sent it to Division V for the judge's signature. Then later that day the case was "vacated." Mike said that meant cancelled. WHAT??? He went to look for my case & said he would go through it with me and if he found no errors, he would personally hand it to the judge and get it signed. Guess what? He couldn't find my case!! I was getting discouraged, to say the least! Of all the thousands of cases to screw up, it's mine??

Mike said he'd find my case file and call me. He never called. But Nicole did call yesterday, returning the call I had made the week before. This is the conversation:

Nicole: Hi, this is Nicole down at the county courthouse returning your call. What can I do for you?

Me: Well, I actually spoke to Mike Vigil yesterday and -

N: Oh, good so everything is settled then?

Me: No, everything is not settled. I got a Delay Prevention Order in the mail and when I asked him about it, he couldn't find my case. He said he would call me back and let me know what was going on and he hasn't. I need to know what's going on.

N: The reason he couldn't find your case is because it's closed. You're divorced.

Me: What?

N: You've been divorced since Monday.

Me: I have??

This is stupid on so many levels, I'm not sure I can explain. Why the delay? Why the "vacating" of my case? Why send me a DPO 18 days after the divorce was supposed to be final? And why, if I've been divorced since Monday, did Mike not see that in his computer on Wednesday? He told me the case was still open. That worries me. I'd love to believe that this is over and I really & truly am divorced but what if what Collin said is true, that now I'm "doubly married" or something? I'll be waiting impatiently by the mailbox for those papers to prove it's true!


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