Tuesday, February 27, 2007

At the Top of the List of Things I Should Not Feel Bad About

I have an ex-husband who is... how can I put this delicately... a bit of a loser. When I was married to him, I was always the responsible one. I did my best, even when I wasn't working because I was in law school, to keep us out of the poor house because he really could not manage money.

When I graduated from law school and got my first law firm job, he decided to become a pilot. That was his life-long dream and he got himself completely off-track by being stupid and irresponsible at a young age. So he decided to take flying lessons. The only problem was how to pay for them. At the time that he decided all this, our marriage was breaking up. And against my better judgment, I agreed to guarantee his loans (they were sort of like private student loans). He, of course, assured me that they would be his responsibility, etc. By the time we got divorced, he was done with this commercial pilot's license and was heading out to find some sort of flight instructor job. His loans became his separate debt as part of our divorce order. But stupid trusting me, I didn't require him to refinance.

We kept in touch for a while and things were going well for him. He was running a couple of branches of a national flight school chain (he had extensive managerial experience and he thought he was on the path to buying out the owners of some of these schools). Then we sort of fell out of touch. I moved to LA and I didn't hear anything from him for a while.

About a year and a half ago I was contacted by the bank that was holding his loans. Long story short, he defaulted and they decided to go after me because I'm the easier person to collect from. Six long months later, after endless (and fruitless) arguing with the bank over the fact that they were putting negative credit information on MY credit report even though I didn't default and they didn't contact me prior to screwing up my credit, I paid off his loans.

During the time that I was dealing with his bank, I contacted Chris and he told me his sob story about things not working out with the flight schools and him being out of work. He was not bright enough (that sounds mean, but it is true) to understand that by just stopping paying he was affecting my credit too. He thought that since it was his debt under the divorce decree that would somehow remove the obligation from my credit. And he told me how sorry he was and how he'd try to come up with the money, but he never did.

Then his phone was cut off and I was no longer able to contact him. And he would never reply to any e-mails that I sent to him at the e-mail address he gave me.

So about 3 months ago, after telling him by e-mail that I was going to do so, I sued him (technically we filed a motion to enforce the divorce decree). That means I had to hire a lawyer in Dallas and have someone track him down to serve him (piling on even more expenses). Chris has been hiding from his creditors, so it took the process server about 2 months to track him down and serve him. Finally last weekend they tracked him to his parents' house and served him there.

I should be relieved that they finally found him and served him, yet for some reason all I can feel is bad. I never thought I would have to sue this person who used to be my best friend in the whole world. And I'm sure that he was sticking his head in the sand, assuming that if he just ignored me, this would all go away. He's not a bad person (I don't think) just miserably, horribly irresponsible.

I know that I'm doing the right thing. So why does it feel so wrong?

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