Thursday, May 24, 2012

Link this

Isn't it amazing the people who want to be friends with you through social media? I've become friends again through Facebook with lots of people I never would have been in contact with otherwise: people I went to high school with, relatives, people who simply dropped out of my life for various reasons. There are people I haven't connected with, of course. The first boy I kissed, the first boy I fell in love with, other high school friends, other relatives, my mom. OK, I'm connected to my mom through the telephone. We all need boundaries.

And then there are the people out there in Real Worldland I never want to see again. Like my first divorce lawyer, MD. My first divorce lawyer who recently sent a request to link with me on LinkedIn. My first divorce lawyer who fucked up my divorce so bad I'm still trying to fix shit years after I fired his incompetent ass. My first divorce lawyer who will be the one and only asshole to blame if I end up living under a bridge someday, because he did everything he could to ruin my life and I still don't know if he totally succeeded yet.

I hired MD because I thought he was one of the few ethical lawyers in town. He had represented a friend whose nasty nightmare of a divorce lasted years. She went through several lawyers before she finally found MD. Her husband's lawyer, CL, was a small celebrity here in our small city, mostly because his son is a big celebrity in Hollywood. CL is also known as one of the nastiest of the nasty divorce attorneys. And as is often the case with bullies, people fawn all over him, especially in the small county family court where my divorce proceedings took place. It was disgusting to watch.

Anyway, it turns out the magistrate in charge of my friend's divorce case and CL engaged in a little illegal ex parte hanky panky at a party one night. The magistrate gave CL physical evidence to use against my friend in the divorce, and my friend got wind of it. She insisted her lawyer, MD, turn them in to the judge.

During the investigation of the magistrate, her other unethical and illegal activities came to light, and she was sent to prison for embezzlement. It was kind of stinky for the county court. The judge wasn't very happy with CL, and he admonished him for his unethical behavior. Spank!

And then, behind closed doors but not privately enough, he admonished MD and said he should never do anything like that again. In the eyes of the county judicial system, MD was not a hero. But I thought he was. I wanted a lawyer with high ethical standards, good moral character. So I hired him.

And I still regret it.

When LtColEx decided he wanted a divorce, he promised he wouldn't hire CL. But his first lawyer stopped working for him, and he hired CL instead. Game on. It was MD and CL in the ring again for the first time since my friend's gruesome divorce. I was stupid enough to think we had the advantage -- ethics and all that shit. I'm not that naive now.

MD fucked up every single part of my divorce he could possibly fuck up, from the spousal support to the military retirement and survivor benefits. My personal opinion is that he wanted to suck CL's balls so bad he wrapped my case up and gave it to him as a gift. The way he fawned and groveled when we went to CL's office for depositions was embarrassing. I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd dived under the table and ..... uh huh.

Skipping ahead past the years of legal wrangling and custody battling, we finally signed a divorce decree that I knew was full of errors. I had no choice about signing it. Or that's what MD told me. But it wasn't over yet. The lawyers still had work to do on the military retirement and other things with long names and longer acronyms.

A year later it still wasn't done. After the decree was signed, CL and his expensive suits went AWOL. He refused to respond to LtColEx or to MD. Finally LtColEx found another lawyer. And a couple of months later, I fired MD and hired a competent lawyer ....... who looked at my divorce decree and shrieked in terror. It was that fucked up.

For $9.00/minute though, she was willing to try to fix it. Nine fucking dollars a minute.

Lots of things were wrong in the divorce decree, both numbers and language. I knew it when I signed it. I knew we'd be going back to court over it.

But the big thing MD, the arrogant bastard legal expert with 30 years of experience and hundreds of military divorces under his belt, missed was the deadline for filing for my half of the military pension (which is guaranteed to me by federal law) and for the survivor benefits (SBP) that would kick in should something happen to LtColEx -- like if he died. We'd been paying the premiums since he retired in 1999, but because the fucking lawyers didn't do their jobs (and told us we couldn't do it ourselves), I lost everything--military pension, benefits, health care. Everything.

And he not only missed the deadline, but the language was all wrong in the divorce decree, so the military finance office wouldn't accept it anyway. The whole document was a clusterfuck put together by two lawyers who together have at least 70 years of experience under their expensive belts.

That's what my new $9/hour lawyer had to fix.

I wish.

After a several more years of lawyers going back and forth writing an amended divorce  decree and more depositions and getting it through the court with one continuance after another,  and after paying over $11,000 to my second lawyer, I finally got my retirement benefits back. But not the SBP. That was turned down again.

And it matters. Because if anything happens to LtColEx, I will lose the retirement pension again. And I didn't put in 20 years as a military wife to lose my benefits because of an incompetent asshole of a lawyer.

Who wants to link up with me on LinkedIn.

LtColEx says I'm the best insurance policy he could have. When I was getting our big trilevel ready to sell, he came over to help. I walked into the kitchen, and he had put 2 bags of cement on top of a 6-foot stepladder and was standing on them painting the top of the skylight.

I said, "You know if you fall everybody will think I pushed the ladder."

"No, they won't," he said. "You're the best insurance policy I've got. You'd be crazy to let anything happen to me."

True that, Colonel. I stood ready to throw myself under him and break his fall should he tumble off the ladder. What's a 175-pound man falling 8 feet onto my body prone on the ceramic tile compared to living under a bridge?

The past few weeks I've been going back through years of divorce documents, putting together a packet to send to a military board of corrections to try once more to get the SBP reinstated in my name. It was difficult retracing that journey. I found a whole shit ton of anger and sadness in those boxes of documents. And expensive fucking incompetence. Not that I'm bitter. Ha!

I hope she's on my side this time
But I'm done now, I think. Tomorrow LtColEx and I are meeting so he can sign the form and look over what I wrote to the board, what I hope is a persuasive plea for mercy. And then I'll send it in and try again. No lawyers this time. Just me, trying to fix what they fucked up.

Wish me luck, 'K? I need it. I'd ask for justice, but if justice existed I wouldn't be in this mess and MD and CL both would be disbarred and living under their own bridges.

As for MD and his LinkedIn request, I ignored it. But I really think it's too bad when  LinkedIn sent me the email asking me to link with MD I didn't get to choose between "accept" and "choke on balls." Maybe I'll write to them and suggest it.


  1. Nothing to say...Just a great big hug! And some choice cuss words late at night for the villains of this piece.

    1. Believe me, I've used them all. The fuckers don't seem to care that they're affecting people's entire lives.

  2. Injustice and incompetence like this both make me so furious I have to shut down almost right away. Somebody should give me superhero powers so I can do something! It's hard to believe this kind of (insert stronger adjectives than I can locate right now) situation can occur and not be corrected. Best of luck with the plea you'll be sending off - may the Board be composed of merciful individuals who have always longed to be superheroes.

    1. I wish you had that superpower too. Another lawyer friend told me a couple of years ago I should report him to the state Supreme Court, but I have no trust in lawyers policing themselves.

  3. Maybe you could friend him on LinkedIn and then give him a thorough, accurate review. >:)

    1. OH! Now there's a wicked idea. I didn't know I could do that. Lawyers scare me though. He'd probably sue me.

  4. *nods* at Susanna's comment.. the link to this post would be good.

    Good luck..

    1. Oh, this post is just the bare minimum that happened. He didn't even keep track of his hours or what he got paid for. He's say one thing and I'd write it down, the next time he'd say he didn't say it. He yelled. He's a piece of work. LtColEx's lawyer said I should have sued him for malpractice.

  5. I'm so sorry it all happened like this!
    Hoping the meeting went well and things will turn around.

    1. Thanks, Sue. The meeting did go well. And LtColEx had some good suggestions for what I could do if this letter doesn't work.