What? Oh God no. Sorry about that. Mrs. LIAYF and I are indeed still happily married. I was actually talking about the official divorce papers from a short, albeit reluctant chapter in my very early adulthood. It was more or less a marriage training ground, where I learned how bad things could really be...and the value of choosing a life partner who is not only beautiful, smart, and funny but also one with solid moral character.
Thankfully I'm now batting a respectable .500 in the life commitment department.
And the papers? Well, that's sort of a humorous story. Emphasis on the 'sort of'. You see, I haven't really talked about this before but Mrs. LIAYF and I are in the planning stages of adopting a second child. If you are at all familiar with adoptions you will know that they involve a home study. This is where you hire a social worker to do what is essentially a background check on your family life, and declare you fit to raise an adopted child. Part of ours asks 'Have you ever been divorced?' and if so, asks you to provide copies of the decree.
"Go find your decree and bring it to me" Mrs. LIAYF instructed me, as she was reading through the paperwork. "Hmmm, I'm not sure where it might be" I responded. And with that I was off to dig through my papers to find it. But, all I came up with was a draft. It didn't have any signatures or even a case number.
"Is that ALL you have?" asked my wife. "Uh, yeah. I guess so." I responded with a lump forming in my throat.
"No problem, we can just look it up online." She offered. So we pulled up the court records and typed in our names. It yielded nothing at all. I began to sweat.
Mrs. LIAYF looked over at me. "You are actually divorced, aren't you?"
"Yes. I am." I said with all the conviction I could muster.
"Well, did you get anything from the judge?"
"I didn't actually go to a court house. It's been nearly 20 years ago, but I'm pretty sure I signed something"
It was at that point that we decided to do an online background search of my first wife, understanding that it would also include any divorces she was involved in. I knew she had been remarried too. But when we looked her information didn't come up with her maiden name, or her remarried name. It came up with MY last name. And there was no record of a divorce.
Shit Shit SHIT!
This wasn't good. I literally felt sick to my stomach. What if she had never actually filed the papers? I was young and stupid at the time and I just wanted it all to go away, so once I signed I never thought about it again.
Suddenly I had visions of my life being another story line from Big Love. Would I have to convert our house into a compound and hide out from the authorities, all the time fearing that I would be exposed to the neighbors as a polygamist?
Actually, to her credit Mrs. LIAYF was amazing during this whole episode. She instantly recognized my stress over the lack of information and reassured me that we only had to go to the courthouse and have them look up the decree. Me, I now wasn't so sure.
The courthouse in question was not local, so we had to wait til I could get some time off to go see. That day finally came on Friday. With Mrs. LIAYF by my side, we asked the clerk to look up the divorce decree for one SeattleDad and his first wife.
My stomach nearly dropped through my ass when he at first said "I am not finding anything here". But after some more searching, he then said "Ah, here it is. I found it. How many copies do you want?"
We had him print off two copies, and stamp them official. As it turns out, no one is actually given copies, unless they are requested at the time of the decree. So, I never did have copies.
I gave Mrs. LIAYF a big hug and with that we left the court house. Strangely enough, as I walked down the sidewalk holding my wife's hand in one hand, and my divorce papers firmly in the other we were greeted by a throng of people walking right at us holding crosses. Having been raised Catholic, I wondered if this was a sign. After all divorce IS against the rules. But they just walked on by. It was Good Friday after all.
And it was a very good Friday for me as well, as now having that potentially disastrous roadblock out of the way, Mrs. LIAYF and I can now move forward in our plans to bring another child into our happy home.