This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

Categories

Calendar

August 2010
S M T W T F S
« Jul   Sep »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Divorced!

A few hours ago we got word that the final paper work was filed and signed by all the appropriate people.  Brandy is now divorced!

I hadn’t mentioned this online earlier, but this was also tied up with fixing another legal mess.  Washington state makes the assumption that any child born to a married woman (or any woman divorced less than a year from the birth for that matter) is the child of the husband.  You can’t, it seems, even declare otherwise on the birth certificate.  (At least that was the advice we were given when Alex was born.)  So the “father” spot on Alex’s birth certificate was left blank.  Tied in with this divorce were all the documents where Brandy’s (finally now officially) ex-husband was declared not to be the father and I was declared to actually be the father and updates to the birth certificate ordered.  This required documents signed by everybody all around plus results of DNA paternity testing showing that Alex was indeed half mine and half Brandy’s.  Etc.  Fun stuff.

At the same time all issues to officially get custody of Amy in the right state were taken care of.  This basically makes official the fact that Brandy’s ex hadn’t been involved in her life since she was a toddler and Brandy has custody and all that.  It has been the de facto case for 12+ years, but now all the right paper work is in place.

Getting here has been a real mess.  We finally got around to hiring a lawyer for all this stuff almost two years ago now.  We tried to do it on a budget though and got a pretty cheap one, who spent the next two years proving you get what you pay for.  I’d been arguing for a long long time (almost since our first interaction) to fire him and hire one who wouldn’t take several tries to get basic facts on paperwork correct, who wouldn’t encourage just signing the paperwork with the incorrect information because it was easier than redoing it to correct it, who wouldn’t miss court appointments and filing deadlines, who would actually answer emails or phone calls in a timely fashion, and who would actually occasionally communicate with us what was going on and give semi-articulate answers to questions rather than appearing to always be confused about both the facts of our case and the relevant laws governing the situation, but Brandy wanted to plug through it figuring eventually he’d manage to get it right.

Monday there was one last set of screw ups.  Brandy got a call mid-morning saying to be at the courthouse at 3:30 PM to meet an associate of our lawyer, but no clear indication of exactly what would be happening, what was needed, etc.  It appeared I wasn’t necessary though.  So I wasn’t going to be there.  Until about 3:20, when Brandy called me urgently to let me know that it turned out that I needed to sign two additional documents.  And they had an appointment with whatever judge dealt with such things at 4 PM.  It would have been very helpful if I’d known about that a few hours earlier.  So I rushed out of work to try to get to the courthouse.  I took the company shuttle to a building closer to the courthouse, then started run-walking as quickly as I could manage in the direction of the courthouse.  I kept going and going and going.  No sign of any courthouse. I had texted Brandy with “Go to 4th and then take a right, right?”.  I hadn’t got an answer.  Until she finally responded that I was going the wrong direction.  I turn around, continuing to go as fast as my out of shape legs would take me without looking like a complete idiot on the street.  Then I texted “The one with the big white steps”?  Except my iPhone corrected that to “big white stars”.  I headed into the building, but it turned out to be the wrong building, and Brandy texted to say I was too late, they were done.

Fully expecting the possibility that we had missed another deadline, or the lawyer had screwed something new up, or the the fact my signatures were missing would cause things to once again be pushed way out into the future while things had to be done all over again, I finally met Brandy outside the courthouse.  She had the lawyer’s associate with her.  There had indeed been a few other irregularities (for instance Brandy’s ex was technically required to take a parenting class as part of the disposition of Amy and he hadn’t) but the judge had given the green light to proceed anyway.  The only thing missing was my signatures.  If I had turned left instead of right after getting out of the shuttle, I could have been physically present in front of the judge too (I would have just barely made it), I would have signed what needed to be signed, and Brandy’s divorce, the declaration of Alex’s parentage, etc would all have been finalized on Monday.  As it was, I signed the papers I needed to sign right there in front of the courthouse.  The lawyer’s associate took them and filed them on Tuesday and all remaining approvals from the judge were given at that time.  We just got confirmation that all was in order…  finally…  just a little bit ago.

So Brandy is officially divorced.  Amy is officially in Brandy’s custody.  And I am officially Alex’s father.

Woo!  So we’re going to go out to celebrate in a few minutes.

And yes, this obviously opens up the possibilities for two additional things to happen in relatively short order. Namely…

First off, Brandy and I getting legal recognition that we’ve essentially been a married couple for a number of years now in every way other than the legal way.  Theoretically that could happen as soon as Monday.  But I’m guessing we may take a little longer than that.  We’ll see.  One question of course is if there would be any family or friends who felt strongly about needing to be present for such a thing.  As far as the two of us are concerned, it is basically just paperwork and filing legal documents so that things like insurance and whatnot get simpler, so it is highly unlikely we’ll be doing any big party or ceremony or anything like that.  :-)

Of course one of the things that being legally married would also allow is the second thing on our list, which is me legally adopting Amy.  This is something that Amy has said she really wants, and I really want, and Brandy wants but all of the other stuff prevented it earlier.  I have acted in that capacity in all ways but the legal ways for about half of Amy’s life, and I’m the only dad she’s really had, but “officially” there is no relationship at all there.  I can’t sign things related to her school or health care or whatever.  It would be very nice to get that all set up as well.  It isn’t long, just a few years, until she is legally an adult and those things don’t matter as much.  But still…  we all want it.  That might take a bit longer still, but we’ll get all that set up before she turns 18.  For sure.  :-)

Anyway, good day.  Good stuff.

Off for a nice dinner out somewhere to celebrate.