On Courtrooms

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I learned many things in my days in the courtroom, things that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I learned about motions, that here they mean papers and not hand gestures. I learned that is was way easier for me to file my taxes than to file my motions, and that judges don’t appreciate it when you submit three motions in four weeks. I also learned that if you file the day before Thanksgiving, nobody likes you.

I learned about courts, that I can’t just call up in the morning and reschedule, and that if I dared to call on my own they called it unethical and they got really mad.

I learned about laws, that just because the big red book says that I am supposed get something it doesn’t mean that I actually will. Just because the judge made it an order it doesn’t mean that it will actually happen, and that just because twenty days have passed I wasn’t going to get the house, the kids, the money, the car and the divorce by default.

I learned to speak a whole new language. I learned that controverted does not mean the same thing as convoluted, and that moot is a real word, used by real people, over the age of three. QDRO meant money, lots of money, not some shape from geometry class. When they say that the judge will give an answer soon, what they really mean is sooner or later, and a PC has absolutely nothing to do with being Politically Correct.

I learned lots of things about lawyers, those nasty people. I was surprised to find out that most lawyers don’t actually hate each other, that the arguments in the courtroom were their job and that afterwards they talk and they smile. I learned that you don’t need to cry when they say terrible things about you – the judge expects it and if you ignore the words they melt away. I found out that some of them will argue anything that their clients want – even things that any sane person would consider completely ridiculous and utter nonsense.

I learned that it is easier and cheaper to plan a wedding than it is to plan a divorce and that New York was old fashioned and ‘just because’ wasn’t a good enough reason to end a marriage. I also learned that asking for a jury trial, especially one concerning grounds, ties up the case and frustrates the lawyers.

The most important lessons of all were the ones that I learned about myself through passion, perseverance and patience. I learned that it was never too late for me to start over, and that if I put my mind and my heart and my soul into my work, I could be good, really good. Most importantly of all, I learned that hard times come and good times go, but the power of truth and the strength of survival last forever.

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