I legally divorced Styles’ sperm donor in December of 2005. We had been separated for 18 months at that point, and in a short-lived marriage riddled with infidelity prior to that. It all came to a head in June 2004 when I finally confirmed what I had known all along: that he was cheating on me. I didn’t know at the time just how many women he had cheated with but this one was enough for me to FINALLY leave The Douche.
When I found out that he was cheating, I felt every emotion on the planet. Literally. You name it, I felt it. Styles and I moved in with my mom for 6 months so that I could get back on my feet.
I was only 22 when we separated but turned 23 a few weeks later. I was young, naive, and broke. Over the course of the past 7 years, I have realized the enormous mistakes that I made during our divorce proceedings and I want to share some of those blunders so that you, or someone you know, doesn’t make the some of same life-altering divorce faux pas.DISCLAIMER: I am NOT an attorney so this is not legal advice.
1. Don’t Wait For Your Ex to Make the First Move
The Douche kept promising to file for divorce but there was always some sort of excuse as to why he hadn’t yet done it. He wasn’t working so he had all the time in the world, and at the time, the State of Florida had a financial aid plan that allowed for sliding scale divorce. He could have filed his financials and done the divorce himself for FREE. I’d like to once again point out that he wasn’t working at the time so had absolutely no income and all the time in the world on his hands. I, on the other hand, was working two full-time jobs to make ends meet.
I ended up having to file myself but didn’t do so until 9 months after our separation. The whole thing could have been done by that time, had I only done it myself from the get-go. Even if your ex says that they are going to make the first move, do it yourself. Their timing isn’t your timing and YOUR timing is the most important of all.
2. Don’t Leave Anything Out
was is a loser who worked here and there whenever he felt like it, smoked pot all day, and basically had has no regard for anyone but himself. I didn’t think that we had anything worth fighting over so I didn’t list anything on our divorce documents. BIG mistake, HUGE. BIG!
While we were married, The Douche put EVERYTHING in my name and paid for NOTHING. He didn’t work for most of our marriage, I did, and I was stupid enough to believe that he was paying bills with the money that I gave him every night after my serving shift. I ended up with a repossessed car, a DirecTV bill, numerous medical bills, and an apartment eviction.
When I was filling out my paperwork, I didn’t realize that my credit could be included in the divorce proceedings. Prior to our marriage, I had 3 credit cards, all in good standing. After our divorce, my beacon score was in the 300s and he walked away with better credit than he had when we got married.
KNOW your rights where credit and divorce are involved. Do not let yourself get burned because you want the easy way out, it’s just not worth it.
3. If You Have Children: Be Firm, Be Specific
You must always keep your children’s best interests at heart. Don’t go through the divorce trying to take the easy way out or with spite and revenge at the forefront of your motivations. Honestly think about what is best for your kids, especially where visitation is concerned.
If, after a year after the divorce, your ex hasn’t held up their end of the bargain, go back to court and have visitation re-visited. You owe your ex nothing and your children everything. If your ex doesn’t exercise their rights to visitation and come back into the picture 6 years later, they can still flex that visitation muscle. It is confusing and hurtful for your children so do everything you can to protect them along the way. No fit parent wants to put their child into a confusing or emotionally traumatic situation. Unfortunately, not all parents have the best interests of the children in mind and are only out for themselves. Protect them with everything you have.
4. Do YOU
Your ex doesn’t care about you. Your ex isn’t out to help you get the better end of the divorce deal. Your ex is out for themselves and you must be out for yourself too. Your ex may make grandiose promises during the process but you can’t trust a word they say. If you were married to a charming, narcissistic, compulsive liar like I was, you HAVE to remember who they are when they are being saccharine sweet to you during the divorce. Don’t let their deceit blind you into standing up for yourself, and don’t take their lies to heart, lest you wind up with the short end of the proverbial stick.
If a situation comes up after the divorce is final that requires you go back to court, GO back to court and don’t let your ex beg you not to because they will be reprimanded for their non-payment of child support. You don’t need to protect them and if you do, I guarantee that it will bite you square in the butt in the future.
5. Keep Records
Write EVERYTHING down. My dad told me to do this from the day The Douche left me and I didn’t heed his advice until I was in a world of emotional pain about 6 months ago. I kept written files here and there but never anything constant until 6 months ago. No matter now “nice” your ex seems, or how cordial you are with one another, you have started a legal proceeding and you need to approach every situation with them as such. Communicate via email so that you have viable records of everything they have said. Print everything out and keep them in a binder. Make notes in a notebook every time they show up for visitation, noting the time of their arrival and their attitude. Also note when the children were returned and any conversations that may have been had.
These notebooks are admissible in court and could help you if you and your “wonderful” ex wind up in court proceedings in the future.
Remember: You are getting a divorce for a reason and you can’t tell the future. Situations change, people change, and the same person who is smiling in your face right now, may some day turn on you.