After my husband was served, but before he went into default, we both received an Order to Attend a Parenting Class. The order said that we were to both attend the parenting class in person. My difficulty was that I have such severe anxiety that I couldn’t go to stores by myself – much less a room full of others in my same position (but who could probably envision this actually working in their own situation).
And why do I have to take a class when he isn’t even doing his part?
I took my chances and looked up an approved online parenting class on the list given to me by the courthouse.
While I was taking the class, I was trying to imagine what it would be like in those situations with my covert narcissist. After watching the videos and taking the tests, I realized that while I knew the answers, I did not foresee any of that working out in my life.
After the test was taken, I had my first case management hearing where I was informed that I needed the judge’s permission before I could file it. So I went downstairs and filed a Motion to Have Online Parenting Class Accepted. I chose to ask for forgiveness instead of permission and it worked out for me.
Looking on the clerk’s website and seeing that the judge approved it took a huge weight off my chest. I was well on my way to a DIY divorce. Finally!
Here it is on Sunday night, and I’m a little resentful because there was a way to prevent this much work in a divorce. Let’s not forget that while I am playing my own attorney, I am also raising my kids, volunteering at their school, writing my blog, and I have a third shift job.
I am supporting my children (who I had with my narcissist) fully on my own. Plus, I am also helping my daughter, granddaughter, and grandson – who is only a week old.
If he had even an ounce of empathy, he would do his part. He would provide what I have asked for without such a fight and knowing how he destroyed my life over the 13 years I’ve known him with his constant drug use – well, you would think he would want to do the right thing. He just thinks I deserve it. I gave him plenty of time to act like a human.
Okay, lesson learned.
A step I did not do while filing for divorce is the discovery phase.* Since he was not involved and did not give his information I did not think to subpoena his information and the general magistrate did not say I should. I even have an attorney that I have worked with through all of this and she never said I should do one. I suggest filing a subpoena for production of documents from a non-party whether you think your spouse will cooperate or not. This is not in your divorce packet.
*Editor’s Note: Discovery, in the law of common law jurisdictions, is a pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party, through the law of civil procedure, can obtain evidence from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices such as a request for answers to interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions and depositions. Discovery can be obtained from non-parties using subpoenas. When a discovery request is objected to, the requesting party may seek the assistance of the court by filing a motion to compel discovery.
I really counted on him to do the right thing. I asked him to send me his check stubs every payday. Had he done that, I would have been able to show the judge and my divorce would be over because I would not have worried so much about the past marital debt in my name. I would have had the child support set and the judge would have determined spousal support and I would be well on my way to healing. We would have no more dealings and no reason to talk. We still have no reason to talk but it is keeping him in my head.
The lesson here? The discovery phase should be done after filing. Do not count on your narcissist to do the right thing.
Tomorrow, I will be going to the courthouse and filing my first subpoena. Luckily our courthouse has an area that you can print the forms for a small fee. I will be at the courthouse when they open at 8:30 am and then have to print, fill them out, and file them by 9:10 am to get home and take the kids to school. With legal proceedings, there is a time limit and it is important to get everything done on time.
When you go to the case management hearing, mine was handled by the general magistrate, they will go over the list of papers you need to have. Bring in the copies of all of your papers that you have on hand from filing the dissolution of marriage and any mail you have received from the courthouse along the way. The checklist will help you get everything in order for your final hearing.
After you make sure that all paperwork is in order and you have copies of all financial records such as the debt owed in your name, the income of both parties, assets, and life insurance policies make copies and add it – because you will need it for the final hearing.
When you have everything in order you will call the judge’s assistant and set a date for the final hearing. They will usually give you a few and you pick the one that best fits you. If your spouse has an attorney they will try to set the date but remember you are an acting attorney so if the dates they choose don’t fit yours, don’t be afraid to tell them so.
Lessons I have learned through making mistakes. During my case management hearings, we never went over the financial obligations. Knowing what I know now if there are bills from the marriage that are in your name that you want your spouse to help pay, you need to provide copies to the court. If the bills are in your spouse’s name it is their responsibility to provide copies to the court. My largest bill that I am not willing to take on all on my own is in my name and is affecting my credit but with no support at this time I can only afford the main bills and I am not willing to take this marital debt on myself.
Unfortunately, I did not learn that lesson until the final hearing that turned out not to be the final. I will be contacting my credit card company to get a printout of my statement from January 2017 until we separated in November. The court can require him to supply money to pay for this. Something that you also need to be aware of is even though the court can order your spouse to pay past bills, child support, and spousal support it does not mean that they will but it will be on record and if your spouse ever comes into money on the books, you will get paid.
Getting records with no spouse involvement.
A subpoena duces tecum is a subpoena for production of evidence. I received indigent status, so I will be filing this next week to have his employers provide his income to me. In all of the stress of filing it on my own and dealing with the DVI at the same time, it is amazing how much I have forgotten legally.
I wish I had thought to subpoena them before the hearing. I hoped because he was in default this would not be necessary but since it seems to be one of the factors holding me back from spousal support I will go that route.
My husband worked for cash for many years because he could not hold a real job and hide money for his drug use – but he was supposed to be paying support on 3 of his older children. Over the 10 years we were married, he mostly worked landscaping for cash jobs and his child support built up. The government took our taxes every year and gave it to his exes. I am thankful this year will be different.
In the next part of my series, we will be discussing the parenting class.
When you make the decision to file for divorce on your own, you will realize quickly that there are a lot of things that have to be done. Once the court has the paperwork, your next step is to get your spouse served. Some states have process servers and some states just have law enforcement serve them. But the good news is that it is not something you will have to do. I worked with a process server and my husband was served within hours of me filing the paperwork because I knew that he was leaving the state and things would be a lot harder as well as expensive with him so far away.
He did call me after he was served and assured me I would get my answer. Of course, I am still waiting. There is a time limit for your spouse to answer the petition and it is usually 20 days or less, but if they miss that deadline, then your case will go into default and you will more than likely get what you’ve asked for. It does take a little longer to do it all on your own and without the other party participating but the savings and lack of contact make it worth it.
There will be a case management hearing; I had two, so that the court can make sure that you have all of your paperwork in its entirety and that you have done everything you needed to do. If your spouse is involved in the divorce they will be there also.
If you can both agree on the terms of the divorce, it goes a little quicker. But if not, just do your best to relax and know that it will come to an end sooner than later.For example, I filed for divorce January 10 and my final hearing was supposed to be August 24th (this didn’t go as planned, so the new final hearing October 8, 2018). It has been a long wait but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We were both court-ordered to take a parenting class in order for the divorce to go through. Some states make it mandatory and some don’t. Most states want you to take the class in person but if there is some reason you can not attend an in-person class you can file a motion with the courthouse and ask the judge to approve you taking the online class but you will have to have a reason other than you do not want to. Because of my anxiety and C-PTSD, being in a room full of strangers while I was still stuck with the verbal and mental abuse was not an option. I actually took the class first and asked for permission later. Luckily my judge was understanding and it was accepted.
Now to start the waiting game. There will be a lot of that. My county has a web page for the clerk’s office that you can look at to see the activity on your case. Every page you filed is on there and you can keep an eye on it to see if your spouse has done their part.
Divorce is stressful any way you go about it. Know that you are a survivor and this is just another bump in the road. You have overcome so much more. Good luck SPANily! I look forward to hearing about your experiences along the way. You never know who your experience can help.
Check out our new sister site, Divorce Your Narcissist for more resources and information on divorcing your narcissist.
Do you know how to spot a narcissist? Ask yourself these 7 questions if you aren’t sure. How do you spot a narcissist, exactly? What signs should you look for? Narcissists are so self-centered and self-indulgent that they see friends and lovers as mere extensions of themselves. They are obsessed with flattery and demand to be adored and have attention to themselves at all times.
Unfortunately, these narcissistic types are very seductive and you may at first be attracted to them without realizing what you are stepping into. Because their egos are so very fragile, they constantly crave attention which eventually puts their partner at risk of being on the losing end of the relationship.
To help you with some tips on identifying whether or not he or she is a narcissistic type, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does he or she lose interest when they are not the center of attention?
2. Are most conversations about them, whether you try to change the subject or not?
3. Is your partner always fishing for compliments?
4. If you criticize him or her, do they literally fall apart, especially if it refers to their looks or their mistakes?
5. Do you catch them talking about all of their supposed ‘lost loves’ whom each seemed to have had major flaws in which he or she had to break up with them?
6. If he or she is not getting special treatment or constant attention do they get mad or have a temper tantrums? For example, if when they are not waiting on fast enough in restaurants or did not get the best seats at the movies, are they upset?
7. Do you find a pattern of this person using people just to get what they want and then discarding them when their own needs are met?
If the man or women you are interested in shows any number of these types of behaviors then you may want to be careful. These are not the type of people to get involved in a relationship with if you want equal attention and love.
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