I was standing in line at the credit union last weekend to do the monthly tango to get Voldemort’s support payment (no, he doesn’t mail a check like a normal person) and a woman on crutches was standing at the second teller window, gesturing madly. When I got to the other teller window, I could hear her clearly.
She was arguing about the automatic payment set up on her mortgage. The teller was explaining that she couldn’t change the payer account from the current one because it was a joint account paying a joint mortgage. She’d have to cancel the auto-pay and get a statement every month, then write a check and mail it. The crutches lady was losing it.
“Isn’t this something that automatically gets done in a divorce? Isn’t this what I’m paying the attorneys for? Hasn’t his name been taken off the house since he moved out?”
I just wanted to hug her and give her a cup of herbal tea (she clearly didn’t need any caffeine). It took every ounce of my meager self-control not to lean over and give her my unsolicited advice.
Nugget #1: Nothing is automatic in divorce. A related pebble: not much is fair in divorce, either.
Nugget #2: Get a new attorney STAT. Whomever you’ve hired has obviously not given you enough information and you need it.
Nugget #3: Just cancel the auto-pay and write a check for the mortgage. Then deal with getting him removed from the mortgage as part of the divorce. Hopefully, you’ve got a good job and salary, though, because you’re going to have to re-qualify for that mortgage on your own.
The staff and other customers looked embarrassed, but I just felt so badly for this woman. She looked to be at the very beginning of a long process, and I remember that anxiety and panic. She’s operating from assumptions and biases; she didn’t seem to have a lot of factual, legal information. And why would she? I’ll bet you a dollar she thought her marriage would last longer than it did.
Watching her, I got a glimpse of what I looked like from the outside, almost two years ago. And I felt so grateful those early days are behind me. Despite my griping about the cost, retaining an experienced family law attorney was the best thing I’ve done to protect myself since Voldemort moved out.
And I should have done it a lot sooner.