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Dear Daughter (A Fictional Letter from the Mother of a Former Divorce Client)

by | May 24, 2016 | Family Law

Dearest Daughter,

As I’ve told you countless times over the last two years, I never really liked him. I wanted you to marry a nice boy from your hometown, preferably one from an important family. You chose to meet and marry him, instead, and, while he used to be nice enough, he’s not from an important family and you both chose not to come back to your hometown.

I bit my tongue when you all got married. Well, not really, but I never came out and said what was really on my mind. Just side-ways comments and a few “bless their hearts” directed at your soon-to-be in-laws. I was really grateful that you all made me a grandmother, but I really wanted to be the one in the delivery room and he wouldn’t let me. And while he didn’t want me to, I’m really happy coming to your house to watch the babies even though I had to move to your town to do it.

But as I always knew, your marriage wasn’t going to last. He wasn’t Mr. Right. He never was going to give you the life you deserved. I was there every day. I watched it fall apart with my own eyes. I mean really. Remember that time he got upset about me opening your mail? I was just saving you both some time. So two years ago, I went with you to your first attorney’s office. Attorney #1 was really nice. Attorney #1 had pretty reasonable thoughts about how your divorce should go, particularly since you and he had already come up with a custody arrangement you liked. Aside from the house you two bought after the wedding that has a some thirty thousand dollars in equity in it, there was not much to fight over. I helped you pay for Attorney #1 and he filed your divorce. You seemed really excited about things being resolved responsibly and reasonably and maybe you and him could still be friends (why you would want that is beyond me).

But then he went and hired a real barn-burner of a divorce lawyer. His divorce lawyer has the reputation in town of being the toughest, meanest, most hard-nosed divorce lawyer for miles and miles. And immediately it showed. A notice of deposition, subpoeanas sent to all of your banks, to my bank!?!?!, affidavits stating you neglect the children; the paperwork alone has killed a rainforest. I no longer felt comfortable with Attorney #1. After all, how many t.v. shows can you think of where the lawyers are reasonable and fair? What good is that? Nope, I knew that Attorney #1 and his “take the high road” approach weren’t going to get us anywhere. Nope, we needed someone who spoke loudly AND carried a big stick. Or at least could tell us he did. So I went and found you Attorney #2. His reputation wasn’t as good as his attorney, but immediately we knew we found someone who was willing to get down in the mud with his attorney. I must admit though that I’ve never seen such mud.

Daughter, that was almost two years ago. Attorney #1 told us he had an approach that would have you done in about 8 months, even once his attorney got involved. Now we have a jury trial! A jury trial! And that doesn’t even include the custody battle which will have to be decided separately by the judge. Attorney #2 is requiring an additional, huge retainer for that. We’ve now spent more than the equity in your home and I am certain he has, too. Actually, between you and him by the time this divorce is over, we probably would have spent more than your house is worth, even without a mortgage. But maybe, just maybe, the jury could see him for who he really is and give you the house entirely (of course, with the mortgage). Now you exchange the children at the police station and neither one of you can look at each other, let alone say anything. I still think you should have filed a contempt action against him about that time he cussed at you when the kids were in the back of your car. That cannot stand. How any judge would let someone like him still see his kids is beyond me. As you know, your Attorney certainly says so.

Unfortunately all that is water under the bridge now because your father and I just can’t afford this anymore. We’ve tried. We’ve even borrowed from our retirement and refinanced our house. There is no more money to be had. You’re going to need to see if Attorney #2 will let you settle. I know, I know, he told you he doesn’t settle. But I suspect he might let you when he finds out that the money has run out.

I feel just terrible about this. After all the fighting and the money spent, there goes the house and there goes your daughters, our beautiful grand-babies. At least you still have your dignity!

And at least, two years later, we almost had that epic battle against him. Sometimes I wonder how things would have worked out with Attorney #1. But we sure would not have had the pleasure of putting him through hell, even if he’s going to win now in the end anyway. Maybe Attorney #1 could have preserved your assets and kept the children with you, but you wouldn’t have had the pleasure of knowing just how close you almost came to destroying him each time you pick the children up for your visitation.

I Love You,


David Purvis