Around 5:30 am on a Saturday morning in August 2012 I left my parents house, silently. Dressed in a gray hoodie and jogging bottoms I walked a for almost half a hour until I found myself outside a house. I walked up the path, round the back, and entered the shed. Taking care not to make a sound I removed a Bicycle. My heart was beating hard, I took a backpack, I put spanners and other tools in the backpack. I closed the shed. As the inhabitants of the house slept I wheeled the bike out the gate. I walked the bike to the bottom of the street then peddled away. Inside ten mins the haul was stored at my parents house. I had done it, I had stolen my own stuff.
Later that week I asked my councilor, how am i supposed to ask for half a house when I cant ask for my bicycle ?
That was just under two years ago. A lot has happened in that time. I have navigated my divorce. It was not easy but once the process started, little steps followed each other to a successful conclusion. I learnt a valuable lesson. If you meet a controlling person with appeasement, you should expect to receive only the rights that person decides to give you. The process of gaining equality was gradual. It was also not a solo effort. I had the support of friends and family.
The first step was directing all correspondence through a solicitor.
In this way everything was documented. She was forced to justify her demands to her legal advisor. She was put in a position where nothing was secrete anymore. I left enough skeletons in the closet for her to have a very real fear that they too would be exposed. I questioned everything from the beginning of the process and by demanding equality in the small things it was easy for her to give, it set precedents for the larger items to come. I was not fully aware in the early stages how important this would become. There was another side effect to this, it caused her legal fees. I forced her to put a reasonable asking price on the house, which then sold.
By the time the big issues came to be decided, she had little interest in putting up a fight. When asked if I wanted anything from the house, i replied “sell everything, split the proceeds 50-50. This happened. Yes, her first offer was batshit crazy, all she asked for was 100% of the profit from the house. In return she would not ask for any payments going forward. However when I replied with 50-50 in everything, and you do not need payments going forward as you are living with a new partner and the kids are over 18, she accepted rather than face a legal battle. She even accepted a quarter share of my pension where a judge would have awarded her half.
In short, I got a fair divorce settlement that allows me to move forward with my life.
The transformation to that from someone who could not ask for their own bicycle is startling. However as I have said many times before I am not unique. I am not special. I hold no magic wand. What I can achieve, so can another. This brings me to the point of this post. If you are at the beginning of this process, if you are doubtful you can succeed, take heart, have courage and begin walking. I will state clearly the age of my children made this easier for me that those with young children, and I fully understand your dilemma. My only advice to people who feel they will be denied access to there children is, do what you feel is right and consider what is right for you. Please know that you will find support along the troubled road.
As for what is next for me, that would be car shopping. Probably going to spend slightly more than I intend, however I got more than I dreamt from my settlement. I’m not sure which scent is better, freshly signed divorce papers, or the interior of a Volkswagen Scirocco ! What I do know is my old car only has to stay together for a few more days, and things are looking up.