Part 2 – Legal Tips: Waiting
I knew little to nothing about the court system before my husband left. However, as you might relate, I got a quick education.
Current law and the state in which you live have a huge say in each person’s experience when a husband leaves. Although, different factors may be at play in your situation, I wanted to share with you some of the zingers that really caught my attention as I found myself walking on this unexpected road.
My prayer is that some of the information here may be of help to you as you face some of the challenges that lay ahead.
For instance, first legal papers are required to be drawn up and “served” to those named in the court proceeding. It is possible that it could take some time before a server is hired and the individual named in the court document is actually located in person.
Then there is the correspondence that takes place between attorneys. This can be unnerving. Lawyers write in legalese back and forth and often make exaggerations or threats about their intentions. All of this costs you money. Sometimes they might not truly represent their client’s heart because they are operating out of their motive of racking up another win for their portfolio in your court case, and they sometimes do this by first intimidating the “other side.”
If there are children involved, states often have requirements about meeting with a court mediator who can spend a longer amount of time with both the plaintiff and the defendant and give a recommendation on a ruling to a judge. Here is an important tip: A mediator’s opinion can be the most important in the outcome of your case. A mediator will also help to set up a visitation schedule for both parents with the children.
Then there is the actual court date which can be set some time into the future when it is determined that everybody has that date open in their schedule (the court, the judge, both lawyers, and the plaintiff and defendant). Of course, the time might be rescheduled closer to the date if one of the significant parties has a legitimate reason for not being able to attend. Yes, this can all be very frustrating when your life feels like it is hanging in limbo.
Further, once the day arrives for the court appearance, it can be surprising how brief the hearing before the judge might be. Often only one step of the decision is reached or discussed, and more information is required (for instance, one side might request psychological evaluations to provide more information, or even just to bide their time if the judge looks like he is leaning “the wrong way,” etc…) to be determined at a later date. When a later date is required, everyone goes back to square one in finding a time that fits the calendar for all involved.
The steps in the legal process can take much longer than anyone would ever imagine. Not to say that this always happens, but be prepared just in case.
How do you jump successfully through all the hoops in the legal system when you do not know the first thing about the law when it comes to divorce? Maybe you have heard stories, or maybe someone close to you has gone through a divorce already. When it comes down to it, each one of us must prayerfully walk the road alone; make important, level-headed decisions about many matters as they come up; and understand what the wide array of consequences mean for ourselves in our particular situation.
Remember this: God will help you. I recommend that you make it your top priority to ask Jesus to be involved with you each step of the way. Ask for wisdom because God promises that He will give it to you (James 1:5).