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Old July 4th 03, 01:18 AM
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Default Independence Day - in more ways than one

The DaveŠ wrote in message
July 4th is Independence Day

For me, too. Literally. You see, my divorce is final on July 4th. I am
not kidding. I have been participating in these two groups for quite some
time now, and have never really given a whole lot of information about my
situation. For whatever reason, I feel like doing so now. So, here goes:

A little background first. My ex and I met in late 1986 when I was going

school in Arizona. She came back to northern California with me in early
1988. She also had two kids from her previous marriage, ages 2 and 4 when
we moved back. We had a son together in late 1988. We did not get

but lived together for quite awhile. May father died in 1992 and her and

got married a month later, in late 1992. Looking back, I think it was a
purely emotional thing on my part, to maybe replace a closeness that I had
just lost, as my dad and I were always very close. We had had problems
previously, but nothing too serious.

Things were relatively great for a few years, then we started to drift

from each other. Everything I say here is my own perspective, so bear

me. She wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and do all that stuff and be

in the kid's lives, and I wasn't there yet. Eventually the roles started

reverse. I got involved in the kid's activities and she started to make
excuses to not go. I judged their swim team, coached little league, etc.
She eventually started to get wild and stay out after work and not come

until 4 and 6 am the next morning. Why I put up with this I don't know.

no longer communicated. She had this thing of slamming me to EVERYONE
(including the kids) behind my back. I knew it was going on, but didn't
realize exactly how much until after we had split and a few friends

told me. Anyway, rather than argue I simply withdrew and never said
anything that might be used as evidence against me at a later date.

By the time she announced she was leaving in January 1999, I had zero
feelings for her. My attitude was 'fine, go'. At this point I was very
close to all three kids, even hers. I considered them my own, as I had
helped raise them and am still the only father and dad they have ever

She had made over $20,000 the year before and had literally nothing saved
for her move, which she had been planning in her head for over eight

She also contributed almost literally nothing to the household expenses,

there was no reason for this. I didn't push her moving out because I

want the kids to leave, and I was afraid of what the courts would do to me
concerning child support and custody. That's when I found
alt.child-support. Mainly, I wanted to know what I was in for and what to
watch out for and how to protect myself. It was a God-send. I knew I had
no legal right to her kids, that I understood, but there was my son and he
and I are inseparable. In April I had had enough so **I** borrowed money
from her mother so she could move out. She rented a house across town.

almost always get along, so that was fine, I just wanted the kids nearby.

We lived separated for a long time. Almost 4 years. My son ended up with
me and spends about 98%+ of the time with me. Even though his mother

only a mile away, he wants virtually nothing to do with her. We would
occasionally talk about getting the divorce, but nothing ever came of it.
In early 2002 we started talking more seriously, with her saying she

wanted to get it done. I bought some Nolo Press books. She wasn't hip on
us doing it ourselves, but we agreed on virtually everything. She said

wanted no child support, and he was living with me, anyway. I told her

if we hired lawyers they'd get all our money and we'd end up with pretty
much what we agreed to anyway. I even bought her her own copy of the same
book so she could read for herself what I was talking about.

In all this time I never felt bad that she left. I never missed her. I

forgotten how good life could be. Before she moved out one night she

"Why aren't you putting up a fight for me to stay?" I said "I don't know"
and shrugged my shoulders. I was thinking "Because, I WANT you to leave!"
That may sound harsh, but it's the truth.

Some may read this and wonder what I did to contribute to the downfall.
Fair question. First, I shouldn't have let it get as serious as I did
because I never loved her. She loved me and my self-esteem convinced me I
would never find anyone else who would and that I'd better grab her while

had the chance. Also, she always said that she loved me so much that she
would never leave me. I believed that and took her for granted, as a
result. That was very wrong for me to do, I know. At least on these two
issues, I am more mature and self-confident, that I plan to never let

happen again. My present girlfriend and I are very compatible and have
almost identical feelings for each other, I feel like I may have found

one". I know, everyone says that, but it does happen sometimes.

Back to the story. I wanted to file in October 2003. I wrote a rough

of a marriage settlement agreement and gave it to her. She started

about why I wanted it done so quick, and asked if I was going to marry
someone else. As fate would have it, it was that month that I met my
present girlfriend that I am considering marrying now, but at that point
there was no way to know this. Anyway, she never got back to me. In
mid-November 2002 I gave her a note that said I was going to file "within

week" just to get it started and that we could still work together and
finish it off. I promised I would not go any further than that without
letting her know. **** happens, as you'll read later.

A month went by and, nothing from her. I finally filed in mid-December
2002. I paid the county sheriff to serve the papers. She was served on
January 3, 2003. She had 30 days to respond. Nothing. Not a word. In
mid-February she calls me one night and the conversation starts pleasant
enough, then after about 10 minutes she flies off in this tirade about how
I'm trying to screw her and she listed about five things wrong in her life
that are somehow my fault. We had been split 4 years!!! She then
threatened that nothing would happen with the divorce until I fixed
everything in her life. I am not kidding. I knew that about 40 days had
gone by, well beyond the 30 day minimum waiting period. I thought to

"**** that! Like hell you're going to hold me hostage like that!" I

say anything but ended the phone call as pleasantly as I could. I called

sick to work the next morning and went to the courthouse and filled out

default paperwork by hand and filed it. I was given a court date of two
weeks later in early March 2003. She was given notice that there would be

hearing, but she was not told by the court when or where it would be. I
went, testified, and got the judgment entered right there. The next day I
went to Disneyland for a week. (pre-planned vacation). Even though she
never responded and I could have done pretty much anything I wanted, I did
it like she and I had verbally agreed to. I won't get credit for that,

that's life. My conscience wouldn't let me do otherwise. I got alimony
permanently deleted. There is no child support, though I know that could
change. Because of how much time our son spends with me, I am technically
entitled for CS from her, but I don't need it or want it. I felt great!

was done.

The Independence Day thing is purely coincidence. The sheriff served her

January 3, 2003. In California, if everything goes in a timely manner,

waiting period is 6 months and 1 day from the date of service, which in

case is, July 4, 2003. I couldn't have timed it any better.

Tomorrow, I am a free man.

Congradulations and good luck with the future gf.