Divorce: Filing the Papers. Again.

I am sitting in my car crying while being charged by the minute. 1. Because I just drove around downtown for 30 minutes trying to navigate construction cones, one way streets and parking garages that will accept credit cards and 2. Because I am here again. At the courthouse, about to file divorce papers.

I remind myself, I can do scary things.

I got here. I found my way. I found a parking spot. I will find the building, I hope. Surely it can’t be too hard; I say knowing that if someone could get lost in the concrete jungle, it would be me.

I remind myself, I can do scary things.

I don’t know where I am going. My shoe is rubbing the back of my heal and I cant find a fucking bandaid. I decide to skip mascara; it will just end up in black streaks running down my cheek. It’s freezing cold, but thankfully the sun is shining. I am armed with a form from the lawyer and an email with directions:

Get the clerk to file-stamp the two copies. Keep one for your records and keep the other to give to your husband once I send you the other documents. If the clerk asks, you do not need service of process. Once it’s filed, let me know the case number. The clerk might say something about how they require e-filing, but let them know you’re “Pro Se”. Let me know in what court it was filed and I’ll get the Waiver of Citation ready for you as soon as possible”.

I remind myself, I can do scary things.

Apparently, I am the one that is in charge of scary things. I had to file the papers last time too, I even had to take the kids with me. They loved the elevator ride. I swear they must have thought I brought them to some kind of shitty carnival. They were laughing and excited and they had no idea. They were too young. This time the kids are at school and I am alone. I assure you the elevator ride, metal detector and purse search was nowhere near as fun. It’s clinical in fact. I am a number. A file among thousands of files. Sterile and cold. A decade of love, marriage, kids and life reduced down to a number. Today my number is E46. I guess it’s as good a number as any. Some person behind a glass window will call me. So I wait.

Divorce seems to be a game of hurry up and wait. We wait to let our marriage get so broken that divorce becomes the only answer. Then we hurry up and agree to separation. Then we wait to figure out finances and living arrangements. Then we hurry up and file the papers. Then we wait the minimum 60 day “cool off period”. Then we hurry up and sign the final papers. Then we wait another 2 months because our current lease doesn’t end until August.

I remind myself- I can do scary things.

It’s in those periods of waiting that we have nothing better to do than think. I have been wondering why it seems that women are always the ones left picking up the shattered pieces. Women seem to be the ones that must now venture back out into the job market. Women are responsible for getting the kids squared away with daycare. Women keep the household running amidst the storm swirling within the family. The husband goes to work, consumes himself with the life he has already created outside the home and drowns his feelings with late nights out. Or so it seems. Maybe it’s just circumstances.

Women are amazing. We hold a million balls in the air at any given moment. We strive to support ourselves and our families. We try to make life magical. We often fail, but we have the best of intentions. We are caretakers. We feather the nest. We think about others. We are selfless and we are exhausted. It’s a big job. Mommyhood. Womanhood. Humanhood.

I remind myself- I can do scary things.

You go into this marriage thing as a team, a united front. And when the fairytale crumbles away, you are left by yourself, walking back into the court house to file for divorce. Alone. No camaraderie. No pomp and circumstance. Just you, by yourself, making a huge life decision that will inevitably leave all parties changed forever.

I remind myself- I can do scary things.

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Filing for divorce.

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7 thoughts on “Divorce: Filing the Papers. Again.

  1. You’re right…you can do scary things, and like all scary things, once it’s done, it’s no longer scary…and some other “scary” will take its place. But you also have family here, and having someone to go with you could have helped…call any of us and we’ll be there in a heartbeat, Brave One. We can make the unusual seem more calm…some of your family have gone through it and know how scary and lonesome it is, and how uncertain and dark the future can look – especially in the middle of night when and we have no frame of reference for that future. Circumstances are made harder because no one marries with a plan for divorce. You are brave, thoughtful, a wonderful mom and an especially wonderful woman. The fear will leave – eventually. The children will consume you. A new job will keep your mind focused. And family will be with you whenever you desire. Just ask. I don’t want you to be scared AND alone. I love you.

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