My Day at Court

In chronological order if you followed my blogging you’ll not doubt not be surprised by the title of this blog. So this blog is designed to give you an overview of what the financial court proceedings looks like, and my recent experience of it. I’m not a lawyer, so don’t assume any of this is legal advice or correct! Right disclaimers out the way here goes.

So i recently attended an FDR, Financial Dispute Resolution, I think it stands for. This is the second time I’ve been to court, the first time was called a FDA – I can’t remember what that stood for. The next step in the process is the Final Hearing. All on the assumption that you don’t do a deal before then.

There are different rules and things that happen at each, but as far as my small but growing knowledge in these matters cover, these are all areas for a judge to advise what sort of deal you should do, and then at the final hearing if you can’t sort it out the judge tells you what to do.

So, I’m at stage 2, the FDR. It was todate the worse experience of my life, from a stress point of view. You feel like shit. If you’re about to go to one, I’m sorry to say, it’s not going to be pleasant. It’s shit. But, it’s only a day.

The hardest thing is how clinical everything is, it’s just another day in court for all the people around you and yet for you, and your ex-partner it’s as harrowing as it gets.

You head off into the court room and the judge sits and the end of the table, and without delay you get straight into it. Thankfully you dont have to say anything as the barristers and the judge do all the talking. They summarise where you are at and the main issues and the judge makes a few comments, and gives what they call ‘guidance’. It didnt help that my judge gave little guidance, there was lots of ifs, buts and maybes. After what seems like forever, we all trundle out into separate rooms. This is where we all talk about the ‘guidance’ and discuss next moves. This is normally in the form of an offer or encouraging the other side to make an offer. The barristers leave and meet in the corridor to discuss and negotiate positions. All the while you just sit there wondering what’s being said, what the ex is thinking, and frankly how much you hate being there.

The barrister returns. At this point, it’s like of a reserve scenario of when you were at school and you got your mate to ask a girl out on your behalf. What did they say, what did they say. If you’re lucky, you can start to reach a point where you can this whole sorry mess behind you. Unfortunately for me, what they said, was not at all what i wanted to hear. We do this back and forth a few times, and then we’re back into see the judge.

Being frank, it’s a bit of a blur and most of goes over my head, but I feel like I’m in and out of the little rooms, different rooms everytime as contrary to what feel, this is happening all over the court, multiple times and multiple places, so as soon as you leave your room you tend to have some other poor bastard jumping into it to run through the same procedure.

Ideally, by the end of the day, you’ve reached an agreement or a decision. At best you’re glad its over, at worst you’re bitter, and torn up inside. But it’s over.

If you experience what I experienced you don’t reach a decision, the offers arent close enough or for whatever reason you can’t find common group, the barristers and lawyers go in and make their plans for the final hearing, in something that sort of feels like they are drawing up an order form for you to pay tens of thousands in a couple of months time. They’re not excited by it, they’re not unhappy, they’re just doing their job.

So as I left the court that day, probably having spent 10k on the pleasure of it, achieved nothing other than hurt, upset and emotional turmoil, I was pretty down about it all. Despite all the erratic and emotional thoughts about what to do next, I just went for a coffee and sat doing nothing, somewhat shellshocked. I was like that for a few days in truth. After a week or so, the sun came out and the memories passed. Times waits for no man or divorce.

So now it’s onto the Final Hearing, the most expensive and well publicised of ‘court’ when it comes to divorce. Early indications are it will cost around £25k per party, but at least this time we’re paying for the pleasure of the judge to ‘tell’ us what to do rather than pass their ‘guidance’.

Money well spent? I’m not so sure, but I’ll be glad when it’s all finally over.

Talking it through sometimes doesn’t help.

Very much a mini blog this.

So 2 and a half years. Long time since I left, not everything is done yet. But the one thing that I’ve started to realise is constantly talking about the past, the reasons it went wrong, that she was out of order, do not help.

I’m all for talking therapies to help. But sometimes to go over and over and over it all doesn’t allow you to move on.

My family are sometimes bad for this. I understand, they’ve been hit very hard over all this. Sometimes I think they took it worse than me. To keep repeating yourself doesn’t help to move on, well  certainly not for me.

I try and go on the rule of it’s it not a new point of view or theory it’s not worth talking about. And especially not if you’ve already heard or talked about the story a few times. Of course doesn’t always work and I get sucked into telling a tale that everyone has heard before, but I’m trying.

 

New beginning same dark thoughts

Holding handIt’s been a long time. I quickly scanned my last blog and it was over a year ago. Now this was never meant to be a diary of events, but I’ll summarise where I’m at. I left my wife in March 2014. We started divorce proceedings in November ish 2015, it’s ongoing.

Relations are erratic, sometimes cordial and sometimes volcanic. As you’d expect there’s a general undercurrent of mistrust. We have a good routine with the children, in fact I consider myself quite lucky with the amount of time I see them.

I am in a new relationship which is fantastic and is a constant reminder that from a relationship point of view I made exactly the right choice. That’s a real relief. I was always sure that it wasn’t me imagining that things should be better, or that I should be treated in a different way, but without doing it you never really know. Thankfully I was right, and my gut feeling was there is something better. i

I’m slowly moving on with my life. Everything takes a lot longer than you ever realise. That’s been the one stand out observation throughout all of this. There has been so many conversations around separation and breakup too many really – but that’s for another day. Time. That is the biggest thing for me, everything takes so long. From the official divorce proceedings to the emotional journey and I suppose recovery. I wonder sometimes will I ever recover?? I’m sure I will, well I know I will.

What was interesting to me was that my last blog ran a similar theme, moving on, doing well, and then suddenly a period of lowness. I have realised I think it’s the summer. Summer is the time when all the ‘happy families’ go on holiday together all jump in the pool and generally have a wonderful family time. I know of course they don’t. And life is more complicated than that. Facebook however never really tells that story and as much as you can try and tell yourself that the mind can be a cruel cruel object.

I miss my children, and I recently worried about what happens when they no longer see me as the ‘cool dad’ I know it will happen. It’s natural, but it’s hard enough trying to persuade the ex to increase my time with them, let alone when the boys start to say they’d rather be out with their mates.

I’ve lived by the mantra in the last 3 years or so, of taking one day at a time. That works well. I will start to think a little more long term now though – that’s the next step. I have more good days that bad, and you don’t have to dig too deep to find Dads in a worse situation than me. Doesn’t mean it hurts any less when they go home. I am getting used to it now though. Sort of.

I’m not out of the woods yet.

I’ve realised today, well I’ve known for a while. I’m still recovering from my separation. It’s been 19 months now. It’s funny this recent slip has come off the back of a number of ‘good’ days. So much so I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m seeing the kids a lot, and my relationship with them is good and not the strained, destroyed and ruined as I was scared it would be. They recently stayed over with me, which was amazing. They were quite normal, which was reassuring. Work has picked up an my financial situation has eased. My relationship with the ex is calm and cordial too. I was feeling good. I told people that I felt good, and I did. But then it happened.

Things are a bit dark. I dont know why. Sometimes it just makes me feel low, bad, and a lonely place. The gravity of it all hits you. Everything you knew in life changed and its hard to adjust to that. When you’re around people it’s easier, but when I’m on my own, the demons start to surface. When things have been hard before, I’ve just battened down the hatches and tried to sit it out. The feeling passed. It will pass again, but today I’ve realised that I’m not out the woods just yet, and I’ve got a bit more to go. But things are improving that’s the key thing.

Money and Divorce…staring down the Abyss

Cards on the table time. Credit that is. No seriously, I have to say I’m right at the start of this so whereas in previous blogs I’ve offered a little more insight and experience, I’ve no idea what to expect. So if you’re reading this with divorce on the horizon, lets strap ourselves in brother, hold tight and hope we get to the end of this rollacoaster ride in one piece!

I’ve read some articles on this, and heard it described by some as the male version of rape, which is pretty extreme, but these times do evoke extreme feeling. Others have said, the quicker you let go of the feelings of injustice, the faster you will recover. That’s the view I’m going to subscribe too. I can’t remember where I saw it but it says something along the lines of the longer you hold onto your bitterness about divorce, how much it cost you and how unbelievable your ex was, how vicious those lawyers were etc etc, the longer you’ll be unhappy, bitter and stressed. Oh and you’re friends around you will be long bored of your stories too. And definitely don’t go on about it to your new girlfriend or partner…Now that makes sense to me. We all want to move on, it’s like the plaster that needs to come off, although I’m not a fan of ripping it off, it does need to come off and when it’s done we can move on.

I’m going to try and take the aforementioned view on mine. I’m going to try and be pragmatic. It will be hard, but my eyes are on the prize of happiness at the end of this, not the £500 cash I can hide in the biscuit tin.

Some background on me, I have a complicated financial position, I have a small business, and some investment property. All the income pretty much is used to fund mortgages, schools and clothes etc etc. My ex doesnt have much, so I’m in classic bitterness territory here. But I have kids, and I know that pretty much whatever money I ‘lose’ will somehow be filtered to them. Having had a small business, I also learnt long ago, that there are times when you are flush and have plenty of money, and there are times when you don’t have a pot to piss in. I’ve been on that cycle many times (work wise), so I’m trying to view this as something like that. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. When you’re up, enjoy it, and when you’re down, it’s nose down time and get to it. I know it’s not that simple, and I know that everyone is different, and I also know as a proud man, it’s going to hurt me. I’ll probably lose over half of everything I’ve worked for. But there are two things that will keep me straight, one knowing that regardless of how little I have, my kids will be fine financially and, stable.

And secondly, I’m looking beyond this stupid sick roller coaster to what’s after. Which will in the end mean I’m happier now. And if you’re happy your kids will be happy. Eyes on the prize and all that.

We’ll see.

Empty Sundays

Ever spoke to someone or been part of a conversation that included what you’d do if you didnt have kids? Probably something along the lines of having cups of tea in bed, or you’d finally watch a game of football from start to finish, or stroll gleefully down the local and spend the afternoon supping away on some fine wine in a beer garden. Sounds great doesnt it. I’ve probably had the same conversation actually, lots of times. And boy I probably wished I could do it as well.

Well now I have it, and how wrong I was. It’s weird, if you’ve ever seen About a Boy with Hugh Grant where he breaks his endless days down into units. Well sometimes it’s like that. Oddly I have so much to do but find myself staring at the walls. Missing the boys. They were so full on, I completely forget what to do when they are not around. Sunday’s are tough as that’s nearly always a family day, and so you feel like you’re imposing.

Friends always say, if you’re at a loose end then call, but I don’t. I know what it’s like they have their own lives to lead. Sometimes I do, but by and large I sort myself out. Be it DIY, or cleaning or even going to work, the time soon goes.

What’s bad is I start to panic sometimes if I know I have an Empty Sunday coming up. Guess what, the reason I’m writing this now is that I have one coming up. It’s Wednesday and I’m very casually starting to float suggestions out there and as each rejection from friends and family come back my anxiety reaching one notch higher. I could sit around and watch some films and be really lazy. I could but I won’t, I feel I need to do something, I can’t be lazy like that.

Something will happen and I’ll be fine, but the empty days are weird. In general adapting to a new life is hard, it’s completely different now. Segmented and structured, which is good in some ways, but the whole thing around starting again and learning a new routine that’s so empty and quiet at times, that’s tough.