I'm sitting here in my kitchen. It's bright, it's warm. I have tea. Spread in front of me on the table are six or seven mimeographed documents, each of which is supposed to help me understand the mediation-to-final-divorce process. Anatomy of a Divorce Agreement is designed to help me prepare to discuss such issues as Child Support, Spousal Support, Division of Real Estate, and Arrangements for TELEPHONE ACCESS TO MY CHILD. The Hell?
The Confidential Mediation Questionnaire starts out easily enough; questions answered by fact: marriage date, how many children, date of separation. Then it gets tricky. Who wants the divorce? Is there any interest in reconciliation? Describe your present communication with your spouse. And finally, it asks me to describe my ideal resolution of this case. IDEAL resolution? Just the words make me want to scream. There is no ideal resolution. There's only shit, and the hope that the pile I have to step in isn't too large.
Also for my reading pleasure: A Sample Timeline for Complaint for Divorce. In other words, don't hold your breath, sister, you're 20,367th on the docket. A List of Therapists. Flyers for Divorcing Parent Seminars and Parent Education Programs. A handy map to the local courthouse!
The bulk of the paperwork, however, is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Trial Court, Probate and Family Court Department Financial Statement — Long Form. Long Form, because we've been fortunate enough over the years to have made enough money to qualify for the Super-Sized ass-fucking. Since I have been without income for slightly over four years, this document remains terrifyingly blank for me. BLANK. It doesn't matter how hard I'm working right now to remedy the situation; give up my stay-at-home status, find a job, find daycare, change Calder's school — the fact is, I am completely financially dependent upon a person who doesn't like me very much. It's a scenario I never ever believed I would be in. In marriage, there’s the cold but also cozy belief that after a while there’d be no "me" left — only me chemically amalgamated with another. We'd take care of each other. Now, sitting here, at this kitchen table, which I may or may not get to keep, I can only wonder how I'm going to get through this.