I want to thank each and every one of you who responded via a comment on my blog or on my Facebook page offering words of support, prayer and encouragement. I truly needed them and I appreciated them all. I have always tried to be transparent on many things in my life so that you could know that you are not alone in whatever situation you are going through. I go through things too.
That is why I decided to let you know about my ex and I going back to court yesterday in my post I Broke. The overwhelming support and prayers motivated me to know that yesterday would not be the end. It let me know that I am not alone. You are all amazing.
So, to update you on what happened yesterday…
We went to court yesterday. I, with my two witnesses and my ex with his 12 or 14. LOL, it was a lot. I only knew two people, but whatever. We checked in and didn’t speak and sat on different sides of the waiting room. Our court appointment was at 1:00. I checked in at 12:38 and we didn’t get called back until almost 2:00 p.m. It was so nerve wracking.
My mom and best friend tried to keep my nerves at bay by cracking jokes and trying to get me to laugh. It was very thoughtful. I just kept thinking about how God’s greatness and mercy are with me all the time and that whatever happens that I know God is in it. I had to stay focused on his promise and not this problem.
When called we all follow the bailiff to the court room. My party of 3 and my ex’s party of 15. The bailiff has us wait and then comes back and says that the magistrate only wants to see the two parents.
That was weirdly unexpected, but whatever. It’s not a show. I get that.
We get into the courtroom and we’re told to have a seat. We explained that we didn’t know where to sit because it lists me as the plaintiff, but he had asked for a modification to the custody agreement so wouldn’t he be the plaintiff? He said “No, you’re still the plaintiff because it’s a modification to the original case and you were the plaintiff in that case.” Okay. We sat down.
Now, in Maryland they use magistrates. According to Maryland Courts “A family magistrate is an officer of the Circuit Court who is selected by the judges of that court to hear certain family law and juvenile cases.” He wasn’t a judge, but an appointment by the judge who is a lawyer. Not Joe Blow off the street.
Back to the story…
He then tells us that he’s having this conversation off record. He wasn’t recording it yet. We’re both new to this process so we were both fine with it. He asks the question about me filing for divorce and the divorce being granted last year. He asks me to tell him about that proceeding.
I told him what happened from the moment I filed for divorce to when we came to court and were divorced. He said “Okay, that’s consistent with what I read from the transcript and in your submitted paperwork.” He asked “Are either of you remarried?” I replied “I’m not.” My ex answered “No.”
The magistrate then tells us that “Okay, thank God.” He then tells us “You’re both still legally married.”
How is that possible?
We sat there dumbfounded. He then tells us that there is a process in Maryland which we are required to follow before a divorce can be considered legal. Here is the process:
- You file for divorce with the court.
- Court sends you the paperwork outlining how to serve the individual.
- Individual is served.
- Person has 30 days to respond.
- If after 30 days no response is given, the person that filed for a divorce is supposed to submit a default based off no response given.
- After default is submitted a court date is given to both parties for a hearing on the matter.
- After attending the hearing a divorce is granted.
Now in our case, this is what happened:
- I filed for a divorce.
- Court sent the paperwork to me and I gave it to my best friend.
- My best friend sent the paperwork certified to my ex’s house.
- My ex never responded.
- I received a notice from the court for our hearing date and showed up.
- Went to court and we were granted a divorce.
So, steps were missed on the court’s part and the divorce wasn’t considered valid. Yep, we were as shocked as you reading this right now. How the hell could a court mess this up? How could a judge sign off on this knowing it wasn’t valid? What could have happened?
I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s post as this post is getting really long.