Part of a Now 5 Week Series:
Week 4: Divorce and Aftermath Part A
Week 5: Divorce and Aftermath Part B
Divorce and Aftermath Part A
Writing this I feel like I am only writing general statements about what happened. The amount of upheaval that came with each situation and the time and effort it took to even get to these occurrences was insane. I remember spending 8 straight hours compiling evidence and documentation and recitals for my attorney about my role in the business on a regular basis. It was a full time job, maybe about 30 hours a week when it was hot. I ate, drank and slept the divorce. They were spinning a web of lies to try and get me to give up. But not me. Every time the spath’s attorney came up with a new lie in one of her letters, I had to immediately get out all my information and respond directly to each lie. There were so many lies, it made my head spin. They failed to put items on their discovery in which I had to review for at least 5 hours and go through each item and label which items they missed or only supplied half an answer. Keeping in mind I was also fighting in the same fashion for the custody part of the divorce.
Filing the order of protection was just the button that pushed him to do what he was already going to do. He was just waiting for it. He was going to play me into trusting him and then pull it. Shortly after I went to use the business credit card to pay for a doctor’s appointment, since we used that particular one for medical write offs, it was declined. I found out he had not only cancelled all my business credit cards without notice, but had removed me from being able to access the business accounts. I was furious! I couldn’t pay for my daughter’s therapies or my attorney’s fees without having to go through my office manager. I couldn’t speak directly to the spath because of the restraining order. The fact that I couldn’t access the accounts for money that was just as much mine as it was his was so infuriating I can’t even explain. I couldn’t even get online to view what the money was being spent on. I was completely locked out.
I knew that I had to get information to prove for one that I was a co-founder of that business, and two that I was a co-owner of that business in case they tried to argue that I was just a wife, when even then I would get 50%. I had to cover my basis. So the next day with the permission of my attorney I went to the office. I emailed him to let him know I was going to be there so he wouldn’t violate the OOP and I went in and started making copies of everything. I had to start thinking that this person was and would do the most vindictive thing he could and I had to be a step ahead of him. I copied all the documentation proving I was a co-founder and co-owner so I could get my name back on my business. Of course when he got to the office I was already there. He walked in and I firmly said, “you need to leave.” Oh that didn’t go over too well. Minutes later guess who shows up?! The police. The police! To my own office of which I decorated, got the lease and furnished!!!! He tried to have me removed from the premises, but the police couldn’t find a legal way to make me leave. His attorney had a field day with this. She claimed I was stealing business documents and blah blah.
A Really Bad Offer
The first offer came across the table after our business was appraised for 1M including receivables. It went something like, take $15,000.00 and we are square. He was going to try and look like he was paying me for the business, but his attorney muddled the payments for my half of the business with alimony and child support. Plus taking off his equity of our house and THEN saying that I need to pay him $70,000 for cash for the furniture in the house. I mean who does that? Who even thinks of that? Usually people take the furniture they want and they split it. He didn’t ask for any furniture, he didn’t want the furniture, he just wanted to try to find a way to convert more things to cash. So with all the subtraction, it comes out to him offering me $15,000.00. Surely I wasn’t going to take $15,000.00 as a settlement and surely I wasn’t going to accept any type of payment from a person like that.
OOP on Me?!
Then I find out that I have been summoned to court because the spath filed an OOP on me to try to use that so I couldn’t go into the business anymore. He claimed that I got my OOP to keep him out of his business so I could control him from going there when I was there. His business? When did it all of a sudden become his business? He claimed that I was disrupting the business by going there and that he was losing money by me showing up, in which I only went two times for maybe 2 hours each time and there were only 2 employees there on both occasions, which was my office manager and his assistant. I had filmed the entire visit that I made to the office just in case some crazy accusation like this were to arise.
On to the court house I go. I had two attorneys. He had his attorney, my office manager, my office assistant, a foreman and a couple other people with him. An entire entourage!! Had he not thought MAYBE it was making him lose money having employees use their paid work time to go to the courthouse to testify against one of the owners of the business that they worked for? He had my employees testify against me. It was a circus. My brother was in the back of the court house trying not to laugh. It was pathetic. I was NOT happy wasting more attorney’s fees, money on employees being paid to be at the hearing and having to find someone to watch my daughter in the middle of the day to attend this debacle.
I had good attorneys, but I didn’t really need good attorneys for a hearing like this. After his attorney tried to prove his case by bringing each of my office employees to testify, as well as himself on the stand to testify, and with a stack of paper that was at least 2 inches thick, the judge asked his attorney, “You say community business? I don’t see what’s the problem, it’s a community business.” Well we ALL could have come up with that conclusion. Motion denied.
Regaining Access…or Not
Even though the motion for the OOP against me was denied, I still was not able to regain access to the business accounts. I had to motion for a temporary orders hearing to plead my case of being removed in the first place. In addition, I was told by the spath’s attorney that I was no longer allowed to converse with my office manager…that I hired! So every time I had to communicate something I had to contact my lawyer, who had to contact the spath’s lawyer, who had to contact my office manager and then trail the information back to me. More money wasted. It would cost me a $1,000.00 just to ask a simple question about our company phone bill.
There were a lot of problems that resulted from not being able to have access to the business accounts. My office manager could only do so much because he worked for the spath and had to see him in the office every day. He was not really able to tell the spath what to do. Prior to the OOP scandal, my attorney’s fees were being paid monthly. I had already exhausted my first retainer and they agreed that is wasn’t necessary to replenish the retainer, but to make net 30 payments on invoices. After the court trial all that changed. The spath refused to pay my attorney’s fees.
There was another part of this that was more important than the business which was the custody for my daughter. This is where it started to get really strenuous because now he was taking away my ability to pay an attorney for me to be able to be represented for custody. If I didn’t have money to pay an attorney, how would I be able to win for my daughter? In addition, the business was supposed to be sold and split the profits. This was also important because the more the business sold for, the more I would have to take care of my daughter and all her medical and needs that might arise. I needed to see that the business was still making money and maintain the value of the business so we could all walk away with something. But I could not see, I had to wait.
The Temporary Order hearing that was days before Christmas went as well as it could have gone. Although I did have to sit there for a full, straight, uninterrupted 10 minutes and listen to his attorney claim that I lived a luxurious lifestyle and attempted to usurp the “father’s business.” I just looked across the court room, poker face, right at the spath while he mouthed to me, “it’s true.” Make me want to throw up. Anyway, I won all of which I motioned for, except having my name put back on the business. He was ordered to pay my attorney’s fees to date with the community funds. However I was allowed to go into the office on the weekends, as to not disrupt the employees to review any paperwork I desired.
When the holidays passed, I finally was able to meet with my office manager and go over the financials after not being able to talk to him for almost 5 months. Shortly after going over the financials I found out that from the time the business had been appraised in the summer til now, it had plummeted in value. I foresaw within maybe 3 months that if things kept on going the way they were going, the business would go bankrupt. Business 101, too much out, not enough in. Spath claimed it was because of the attorney’s fees, which didn’t help the outflow, but it was primarily because the overhead was $30,000.00 a month and he was doing the same thing he was always doing. He wasn’t paying his debts and continued to take on more jobs without tracking the profits and budgeting accordingly. This is why sociopaths are not good business people. There are some sociopaths that might seem like they are good business people, but it’s just a matter of time that their lack of conscience in their risk taking and decisions catch up to them.
Finding out that the business was almost bankrupt was a game changer. What still perplexes me about all of that was, how on earth there are such things as “community funds” in which I do not have access to, just because I am in the middle of a divorce? Having to try and fight to prove that something was rightly mine, and had been since it’s inception, was completely mind boggling. Now that I saw all the funds had been depleted, I had to make a move.