Full Course Divorce: Act Four: Scene One

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Act Four

Full Set of Nails

Scene One

This scene takes place in the courtroom. It’s the last of Kate’s “trial by fire” as she negotiates for what she can get to survive as a single mother. Her lawyer’s name is Bill.

Note: Since this is Kate’s “trial by fire” courtroom scene, I downloaded “fire pictures.”


Kate

Bill, I don’t think I can take any more of this bullshit. Mitch is lying right and left. He is accusing me of adultery, when both of us agreed to an open marriage concept, which obviously did not work.

Bill

Look, Kate, your husband went bankrupt and you have lost everything. Let me at least get you some decent alimony and child support for you and Bekka until you get on your feet.

Kate

OK. But my heart is pounding and my stomach is churning and my head feels like a bowling bowl with two holes leaking all my common sense.

Bill

I promise it will only be a few minutes longer.

(Addresses the Court)

Your honor, my client will be leaving the area to look for a job in New York. She has custody of their daughter and will need to reestablish herself financially, so we ask the court to be generous with child support and alimony.

Mitch

(blurting out of order)

But, your honor, she ‘s an adulteress!

Judge

(addressing Mitch’s lawyer)

Your client is out of order. (Pause) I don’t know if this allegation is true, Mr. Mitchell. But since you are here for a no-fault divorce, this issue is irrelevant, Besides, even adulteresses have to eat!

Bill

Thank you, your honor. We realize that Mr. Mitchell is bankrupt, but Mrs. Mitchell was his partner for 15 years in the business, so his loss is hers as well. She has been out of her field for almost two decades and will have to start all over again. She plans to return to college for a master’s degree in journalism.

Judge

That’s very admirable, but in Mr. Mitchell’s financial situation, which I reviewed last night, he cannot be expected to pay for his wife’s education. His alimony and child support reflect his current situation and will be re-evaluated in six months.

To Mitch: Mr. Mitchell, I have reviewed you current job income and household expenses, based on the financial statement your lawyer submitted. I believe you have an obligation to your family and award your wife $150 week alimony and $75 week child support for the next six months. Then it will be reviewed.

Mitch

But, your honor….(His lawyer indicates him to be quiet with a shake of his head.)

Judge

Your first payment of $225 is due in 10 days, then each week thereafter on the first Monday of each week. Is that clear?

Mitch

Yes, your honor.

Judge

All the other terms we discussed will be spelled out in my report, which your lawyers will receive in 10 days to two weeks. Case dismissed.

After the court hearing, Kate goes limp and puts her head between her hands, face down, so she does not have to look at Mitch. Her lawyer pats her on the back and whispers something to her. She nods and he leaves. Kate takes out her cell phone and calls her sister.

Kate

Pat, it’s over. I was awarded $225 a week for the next 6 months; then a review. But the house, the business, and the furniture are gone with the bankruptcy.

Pat

Oh, I’m sorry, sis. But now you are free to move back to New York and go to school.

Kate

I didn’t tell the court I had already been accepted to journalism school and had a full scholarship based on my income.

Pat

Now you’re getting smart. The less Mitch knows, the better, because he will only use it against you later.

Kate

I can’t believe how vindictive he was! I never thought he would be so mean in court.

Pat

Fear will do that.

Kate

Fear of what? That I was going to get a lot of alimony? Or ask for my shares in the corporation? Like I told him when he gave me a million shares at $1.00 each while the business was going under: “Mitch, a million times zero is still zero.”

Pat

You’ve got that right. Now, how ‘bout if I treat you and Bekka for dinner? Joe is on a business trip and won’t be back until tomorrow.

Kate

That sounds great! You know Bekka loves Chinese food, so how about if we go to that new restaurant in town?

Pat

Gotcha! I’ll met you there a little before six and I’ll make a reservation. It’s a new restaurant so it’s likely to be busy. Everybody in town is trying it.

Kate

OK. See you later. Thanx, sis.

End of Scene One

End of Scene One, Act Four

Full Course Divorce: Act Three: Scene Two

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Act Three

Scene Two

Note: Again, winter pictures to reflect the mood, but a speck of sunlight may bring some changes.

Next Morning at Louise and Hank’s.

In this scene, Kate goes to Louise and Hank’s house for two days while Bekka is with Mitch. She cries a lot and they talk a lot and she sleeps on and off. But she asks the dr. for something to help her sleep, so at night she does not wake up terrified. She helsp Louise chop vegetables for the school fair and chops with a vengeance. It eases her anxiety…

Louise

Kate, do you feel up to helping chop veggies for the school fair?

Kate

Yes, I took the prescription the doctor gave me and slept really well. Hank’s bringing me over yesterday was really sweet of him. I really didn’t want to spend the night alone. Mitch will be bringing Bekka back after dinner tonite, so I can go home then.

Louise

Look, Kate, this is going to be a difficult time for you, so let people help you. I know you like to be independent, but learning how to accept help from people who care is important.

Kate

Yeah, I know. It’s just that I feel embarrassed about all of this. I never thought I’d be a statistic! I also feel angry and sad and confused.

Louise

Don’t you think that’s somewhat par for the course, considering what you’ve been through these last few months? Give yourself a break.

Kate

OK. You’re right. I guess I better make an appointment with my therapist. She’s been working with me all during the separation and I need to tell her what’s going on. She’s been very supportive.

Louise

Good! I believe that professional help is also important, because friends aren’t always objective and sometimes they give bad advice, even though they are well-meaning.

Kate

You’re right about that! I’ve been guilty of that myself, giving advice out of concern when I am not even sure what the person is feeling. Well, better give me the stuff to chop if we’re going to get the dishes ready for the fair.

Kate begins to chop quite vigorously. Louise says nothing. She figures it’s Kate’s way of getting rid of some of her hurt and anger. They work quietly for awhile.

Louise

(laughing)

You only have to chop the vegetables Kate, not massacre them!

Kate

(smiling)

Oh, right! I guess I was thinking how angry Mitch made me and I took it out on the vegetables.

Louise

Well, at least you’re smiling! For the last few weeks you’ve had a long face.

Kate

I know. These last few months have been my trial by fire. I thought I could work magic and put our marriage back together, but Mitch hasn’t really tried very hard. I feel as though I’ve been drowning and now I’m all the way under.

Louise

Kate, you have done everything to make your marriage work. I know you sent Mitch away the first time, but that was for your own survival. You’ve been to couples counseling, separate counseling, read a dozen books on relationships, and worked hard to help Mitch with the financial problems of the business. I think you have done as much as you could and if Mitch doesn’t make an effort, you’re just blowin’ in the wind.

Kate

You’re right. It’s just that I never even thought I’d be married and the idea of divorce is so scary. It feels hopeless. When you’re together, struggling, there’s still the element of hope. But divorce erases that hope.

Louise

But maybe your time together is over and you need to hope for a better future with or without a man.

Kate

Theoretically, I agree. But the ache in my heart doesn’t let me think rationally.

Louise

That’s why I’m glad you will be seeing your therapist. She’ll keep you on track.

Speaking of on track, I think we have enough vegetables for the stew, so let’s take a break and go out for a walk while the sun is still shining. The exercise will do us both good!

Kate

Good idea! I read in one of my books that exercise is a good way to ward off depression. Let’s go before I kill more vegetables.

Louise gives Kate a quick hug with one arm over Kate’s shoulder as they walk out the door with the stew cooking on the stove.

End of Act Three

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