Divorced Again

I told you in yesterday’s post Failure of the Court how we went to court for a modification of custody to find out that we are still legally married to each other. The court failed us. We thought we were divorced, but the divorce wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. It was a sham.

In Maryland you can have both your divorce and custody tied together if there are no issues. It’s simpler, more effective and cheaper. I chose this route since I filed for divorce. It saved us time and money. However, because our custody was tied to the divorce and not separate. There was no custody agreement because there was no divorce.

You see the dilemma?

We were both having mini-breakdowns and trying to navigate what happens now. The magistrate explains that he can’t discuss custody because we’re still legally married and that divorce we were given is invalid so we can’t modify the custody as part of the divorce because the divorce is invalid. Basically, no one has custody. Are you freaking kidding me? What?

We were trying to digest all the information that was provided. The magistrate informed us that he was upset over the situation as well and wanted to get out of meeting with us because he couldn’t bear to hear that one of us had remarried and what that meant because he had defended a woman that had a similar situation in another county.

In Maryland, bigamy is a felony that can result in an individual spending up to nine years in jail.  The only way out of it is if your “ex-spouse” has been gone for seven continuous years or you don’t know where your “ex-spouse” is living at the time of your new marriage. That meant that if either of us had been remarried we would have been charged criminally with a felony because the courts screwed up our divorce. They don’t care if you knew about their screw up or not because you are charged criminally and divorce is a civil case.

This is getting more frustrating.

To learn that even if you didn’t know that your divorce was invalid and the courts were at fault and you get remarried you could still catch a felony case? To put it in perspective, our magistrate then tells us a story of a client he had a few years ago that went through this. She went through a bitter custody and property divorce. Her ex was upset because it wasn’t favorable to him. They settled custody and property and then the woman’s attorney filed for divorce. The divorce was filed 11 months after their separation and they were granted a divorce.

Fast forward two years and the woman is remarried and just had a baby with her new husband. She receives in the mail a bench warrant for her arrest and a notice vacating her divorce as invalid. Her “ex-spouse” had went to the state’s attorney’s office and requested that he check their files because their divorce wasn’t legal because Maryland required a 12 month separation not 11 months. The state’s attorney found out it was true and then the woman’s life became a two year nightmare of having to fight a felony bigamy charge, getting divorced, getting remarried and getting her life back.

We sat there dumbfounded.

I said “I don’t understand how the state can charge someone for something they did. The state is at fault because you can’t marry or divorce yourself so if documents aren’t valid then the state is at fault for that. How am I to be criminally charged with their poor hiring choices? That’s not my fault.” He responded “It’s not your fault and you did nothing wrong. But, Maryland law is firm.”

Thank God neither one of us remarried.

The magistrate then asks us do we still want to be divorced. Umm, yes. However, I said that I don’t want to pay for it. I paid the first time and it was a waste of money so everything should be free.

So, he has us go to the paralegal’s office down the hall and have them print out a complaint for absolute divorce and an answer to an absolute divorce. I then requested a complaint for custody and an answer to complaint for custody.

We completed the forms and I asked for sole custody in all paperwork. Both sole physical and sole legal.  I wasn’t going to stop his visitation, but I needed written confirmation on how we’re supposed to do this. We went back into the court room and the bailiff let him see my forms so he knew how to respond in answer. The bailiff gave the forms to the magistrate.

We asked questions on how do we proceed not having a signed custody agreement in place, he said as a lawyer I would advise you to keep things as they are until you go before a judge. No matter how you want to change it, the courts care about how the child is coping with things now.

We sighed.

He included a line in the decree to untie it from the divorce and we would get a separate custody agreement. He turned on the recording and then proceeded to divorce us.

We were divorced again. We left feeling somewhat defeated. This ordeal was working our nerves.

We then met with the scheduling coordinator and turned in our custody paperwork. The coordinator then scheduled all of the things we needed to do including the temporary hearing for 3 weeks. It was overwhelming to say the least.

We go to court again for a hearing on May 4th. My ex-husband (I pray this is in fact legitimate) and I will go to discuss a temporary custody agreement, attend parenting classes and mediation and then have a final custody hearing in August. It’s a hot mess.

We are trying to meet and work some things out on our own prior to our May 4th court date. The more that we try to do on our own and just have the courts put it in writing the better off. There are no winners in our battle for custody. I know that. Ultimately, Munch will be the loser, so knowing that allows me to try to meet with him and work some stuff out on our own.

At this point I realized and began to accept the silver lining in all this. What silver lining you might ask? The fact that he wanted a modification which got us back in court to realize that our first divorce wasn’t real and then actually get divorced again. This allowed us to not have to catch a felony case or sue the state for negligence.

You see? God was in it.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Failure of the Court

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.

Okay.

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.”

What?

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:

  1. You file for divorce with the court.
  2. Court sends you the paperwork outlining how to serve the individual.
  3. Individual is served.
  4. Person has 30 days to respond.
  5. 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.
  6. After default is submitted a court date is given to both parties for a hearing on the matter.
  7. After attending the hearing a divorce is granted.

Now in our case, this is what happened:

  1.  I filed for a divorce.
  2.  Court sent the paperwork to me and I gave it to my best friend.
  3. My best friend sent the paperwork certified to my ex’s house.
  4. My ex never responded.
  5. I received a notice from the court for our hearing date and showed up.
  6. 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.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

I Broke

I’ve always been honest with you about my co-parenting struggles. The relationship with my ex-husband is sometimes unnerving, antagonistic and dysfunctional to say the best. I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting.

I received a certified notice at my house in January. It was a certified letter from my ex’s cousin. I opened it up and in it was a Writ of Summons. He was petitioning the court to modify the custody arrangements. I cried.

I couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t even send me an email or try to communicate with me about his wishes before trying to take me to court. Nine months after custody was finalized he was trying to change it. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t object in March of last year.

I called Mr. C. I was a wreck. Between tears and anguish, I poured out my heart. I screamed “You see why I don’t trust him? Why would he betray me like this?” He said “Babe, calm down.”

I couldn’t. I couldn’t be calm. I had to get a handle on my life right now. I struggled to breathe. How could he do this to me? This is ridiculous.

I have physical custody of my son. My ex-husband has a visitation schedule with joint legal. I talked about this in my post last year entitled Closed. He knew that I was filing for sole physical custody. It was in the best interest of Munch. I never hid that from him. I wanted to modify the visitation schedule we were doing with every other week due to his health issues. He agreed.

I told him that I would give him time to let me know what he would like and proposed a Thursday to Monday every other week. I told him that I was open and to please let me know what he wanted to do. He said “Okay. I’m going to trust you. I’m going to trust that you’re not trying to keep my son from me.” I’ve kept up my end of the bargain.

I’ve never kept him from his son. Never. He came back to me a few months after the divorce was final and said he didn’t want to adjust the schedule. He wanted to keep it as is. Trying to appear fair and level headed and not the controlling b*tch that he’s called me, I agreed.

Best of interest of Munch. I allowed him to keep Thanksgiving and Easter. I offered him the opportunity to spend time with his son on Christmas Day too.  Any additional times he wanted to take Munch out of town or just be present in his life. Yep. I have no problem with that either. That’s his dad.

Best interest of Munch.

That is what I kept telling myself. It is in the best interest of Munch. The many arguments, the threats, the name calling. I’ve endured it all. I never harass him about payment for expenses and I don’t ask for child support. We agreed to equally support Munch. It’s not equal. I pay for medical expenses, dental expenses, swim lessons, tutoring, guitar, soccer and any and all equipment needed.

His response was “You never tell me how much stuff costs.” I sighed and responded “You know it’s not free. When I asked you before you said you didn’t know when you could give me the money.” I let it go. I didn’t worry about it.

Munch was my responsibility. I had primary physical custody. I can’t complain about the many expenses outside of the $150 a month he pays towards Munch’s childcare. I would take care of it. I adapt. I adjust my spending. I adjust and keep it moving. Allow my son to learn and love both parents equally.

I don’t say no to the things he needs or the experiences he wants. I figure it out. Alone. I just make sure that my son has the experiences he wants. I didn’t have that when I was growing up. My son would never know what that is like.

I submitted my response to the courts last month. I had 30 days. New information was presented to me. I amended my response and submitted it to the courts. I mailed everything to him. Now, we have to do what I thought we never wanted to do…allow the courts to decide what is best for Munch.

Today is the day that the courts have to be in our business and choose for our son. Am I happy about it? Nope. Am I surprised? Honestly, nope. Did I wish for better? Yeah. But, this is the luck of the draw. I chose this situation when I ended my marriage and this is where I find myself. Accepting responsibilities for my choices and fighting for the best interest of my child.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Motivational Monday Moment– 4/3/2017

This Motivational Monday Moment is inspired by my sister girl who is going through some things. We talked last week and she was in good spirits where others may have been on the floor crying about their lot in life, she was keeping it in a positive perspective. Her response was “It could have been worse and God’s always got me.” Whew!

That was a testimony. So, I wanted to share that with you. I wanted to encourage you to put your circumstances and trials in a positive perspective. It’s easy to get disappointed and discouraged about things you’re going through. Heck, I’m going through some things now and I’m trying to remember that it could be worse.

Her attitude was such that she knew that no matter what the outcome of her situation that God’s got her. I was so amazed by it. Her positive perspective about her situation was what I needed to remind me that God’s grace is for everyone.

Here’s an example of how I utilized her advice…On Friday, I received an email from the after care provider stating that she left her cell phone at home.  I forwarded the email to my ex-husband as he was picking up Munch from school that day to take him to get his haircut or so I thought.

He responded to me that he was not picking up our son and that he had gotten his haircut last week because his hair looked bad and he had an event. I was floored. Why wouldn’t you just send me a text and/or email and let me know that so I knew to pick up my son on time?

As you could imagine, I was H-O-T! Why the heck didn’t you tell me? You know the answer that I received “I thought I did.” If that wasn’t some cockamamie BS, I didn’t know what was. I said a prayer “God help me”. I thought about how I normally work late whenever I don’t have Munch and that he would have been sitting at school like a lost child because his father had failed to communicate.

You know what happened next? God showed me that I needed to put it in a positive perspective. How could I do that? By accepting that thankfully the director had contacted me and I had checked my email.  That counted for something. My son wasn’t sitting there like an abandoned puppy. I smiled and thanked God.

No matter what my lot in life or the circumstances of my surroundings, God is and will always be God. It never changes. So, my Motivational Monday Moment is to remind you to put it in a positive perspective. No matter what is going on. Change your mindset and allow God to handle it.

Be blessed my loves!

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Playing Games

I had a conversation with my male best friend this weekend about this woman he’s dating. He was telling me that he’s cutting her off because he doesn’t like the games she plays. I asked him what game is she playing? He said “the game of passive/aggressive I’m going to try to get you to step up and say that you want me to be in a relationship with you exclusively” game.

I sighed.

He was struggling. He hadn’t had a successful relationship since his marriage ended six years ago. He never allowed anyone to get close. He didn’t believe in love.

It was always the same story with women. They get too close and he finds a way to break it off and run for the hills. However, she was new. She had lasted a while. It had been six months. He said she was smart, beautiful and successful. He had hinted that there were things wrong with her though.

She had her issues. “Everyone has issues” I said. “I know, but I don’t like a woman that tries to control my life or tell me what I will and won’t do.” I asked “What did she say?” He told me that she told him that once that are in a committed relationship that I can no longer come over to his house and visit. Umm.

“Well, if that’s what ya’ll do I’m cool with it” I said. “No one tells me who can come over to my house. She doesn’t pay this mortgage and I don’t like that. It’s not like you come over all the time.” I laughed.

He’s right. We’ve been friends 29 years this August. A long friendship. Many twists and turns and we’ve managed to not kill each other. It says a lot. I trust him. He has my back. Not sure if I met him or Nikki first, but the bond is deep. The bond is real. Friends for almost 3 decades and you want to put limits on that friendship. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But, I respect his choices.

He’s right on some things. Wrong on others. But, is she playing games? I don’t think so. I think that she really likes him and just wants an exclusive relationship. She wants to know that she’s number one. Many women want that.

She was wrong to try and tell him what to do, but he doesn’t communicate well. He’s always testing women. I think there’s something to be said about two people sitting back and having a conversation about the future of their relationship. It may not come out the way you want, but you can’t say that you didn’t tell each other how you feel. We’re too old to not tell people how we feel.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Dating Deadlines

Is it wrong to create dating deadlines in a relationship? How long will you date a man before you make him “put up or shut up” and take your relationship to the next level?  I’m not saying that we should date a man indefinitely, but when do you expire your relationships because they don’t end in marriage? Do you give an unlimited time frame or are you more specific in your dating goals?

I read this great article about Why You Should Never Date A Man More Than A Year and wondered do all women do this? Do we give our significant other a timetable to move our relationship from one level to the next? Has this worked in your favor whether good or bad?

I want to know.

The article made great points and after reading the comments, the author said she was referring to women in their 20’s and 30’s. I thought cool. I commented and told her that it was a great  read and I understand it, but it wouldn’t apply to me as I am divorced and in my 40’s.

My priorities have shifted. I no longer feel the need to rush down the aisle. Now, don’t get me wrong…I have a dating timetable, but I don’t want anymore children and I have no desire to rush the process. I’m taking my time and really focusing on creating a healthy union full of good ole’ communication.

Nope, I don’t believe it will be perfect. But, I’m willing to work on me, while he works on he so then things can move to “we”. Marriage is a big step for anyone. I learned a lot about myself in my marriage and I learned a lot about other people. The 27 year old me really didn’t know herself.

Knowing your self is fundamental to a relationship. Don’t compromise on the things that you know that you can’t live with. It will destroy your sanity in the end. You will look up one day and realize that you wish this man would go somewhere and die a slow ass death.

But I digress.

Back to me. The point is that at 42 I need to be sure that I’m ready to get married again and that the man is there too. Munch can’t watch another family break up. I need a couple of years of dating exclusively for us to get to that level. One year is too short for me.

I’m looking to get remarried someday and won’t casually date a man that isn’t looking for the same. I explained that to Mr. C on our third date. He didn’t run. He agreed that he was open to getting married again.

I smiled. I told him that I wanted him to tell me if he ever knew that I wasn’t the one. Let me find my happiness elsewhere. He laughed. Probably thought I was crazy. I did tell him though that I would not date him beyond two years without an engagement to let me know that he’s serious (the 2 year mark is 8.15.18). At that point we would have dated for 2 years exclusively and almost 3 years. But, that doesn’t mean that we’ll rush to the alter.

I want to enjoy being engaged. I want him to spend time with Munch and I. I want us to do things as a family before and after we get engaged. We need to get Munch used to the fact that we’ll be combining families and lives and he’ll have a bonus dad. That is something that I don’t want to rush. Maybe I’m too cautious, but I’ve seen so many marriages put together without the kids getting an opportunity to truly know the other spouse that it creates a difficult relationship.

I don’t want that. I want to take my time dating, loving and being a girlfriend to a wonderful man. Go at our own pace (as long as it fits within my timeframe, LOL) and know that we are building for longevity. The other thing we’re doing is working our relationship on God’s terms. Not mans.

So, if God says “T, fall back.” Guess I’m falling back. I trust that what God has for me is just for me. The key is not to get married, but to stay married and if you rush your process you may find yourself ending up in divorce.

 

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Review: Being A Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Said “I Do”

I’m beginning to slow down and get back to reading. I have so many purchased and unfinished books on my list that I feel like I’m drowning. However, I’m determined to be finished by May from all the published books that I purchased last year. First up, was Being A Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Said “I Do” by Tanya Barnett. For sake of full disclosure, I’ve known Tanya for years. 

We all grew up in the same church. She’s older so I’m closer with her brother Rodney. When I found out that she wrote a book, I was hesitant to read it. Not, that I didn’t think that it would be good, but more so that I wasn’t a wife no more and I didn’t think it applied to me.

However, she started sharing posts that it does apply whether you are single, engaged, married and divorced and wanting to remarry. So, I figured that I would give it a go because I wanted to remarry. Can I just tell you that I loved it? It was a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. I saw so many similarities in her behavior and in mine when I was married to my ex-husband.

What I loved most about the book was also the prayers and self-reflections that she has at the end of each chapter. A very cool tool to help you evaluate what you see occurring in your relationship and writing what you want in your relationship. I had to write these down because I read the book on my Kindle app. But, I wanted to do the work.

She shares her stories of her struggles with being a wife and the problems she had in her marriage. Her husband seemed a little scary, but I realized that he was more like many of the men that I dated and even the one I married. Not scary, but scared. That’s the key. She loved the heck out of the man that God told her to marry. She accepted His will and realized she needed to change too.

She was like me and like many women I’m sure. Independent to a tee. Mouthy (yep we like to pop off at the mouth) and demanding. She recognized her part in the destruction of her marriage but she speaks about how she constantly prayed. She tells you how God was speaking to her before and during her marriage.

Now, this is important to me being a woman of faith. I believe in prayer and more importantly I believe in listening to God when He speaks to me. I spent so much of my life ignoring God’s voice that I vowed when I turned 40 to never do that again. I’m happy to report that in the last two years I’ve not done that.

God was all in and throughout her marriage and it helped her get her mind right. To be a better wife to her husband and to truly work on her marriage. That’s what I love about this book. It’s not all her husband’s fault, but she equally discusses her failures in her marriage. You will see yourself in this book in many ways. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy at destroying what we love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend this book to any woman. Whether you are seriously dating, engaged or married you will realize that you are not alone. There are many women who self-destruct a relationship and don’t fully examine the history of our partners prior to marriage. However, there is hope. All is not lost. See the beauty of what you created, do the work and allow God to work in your marriage.

It’s a great read and you can check Tanya out on social media at the following hashtags: FaceBook: Real Wife Coach ; Twitter: Real Wife Coach and her Website: Real Wife Movement

The best part? Her husband is writing his own book about this time during their marriage. I’m truly excited to read that as well because I love a his and hers point of view. Tanya’s book can be purchased on Amazon here:  Being A Wife Just Got Real

 

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.