Mar 7, 2012

Assert assert assert...


I'm learning things about myself in the next phase where I'll have to take risks with the law and force myself to do things I am not comfortable with. I am still afraid because the law does not always seem to be on my side until all things are iron clad and clear cut. 
Ok so I'm a nice person, and you really have to push me to the edge before I can stay mean and act mean with you.  As much as I hate my ex for all the pain and suffering, I cannot hate his mother who is in the middle.

There is a property that needs to be sold owned by both of my ex and I but which is currently being occupied by his mother-in-law and him for most of the time when he is not skulking in the home that we occupy. We had purchased it at a point in time when she had no place to go and he did not want her staying with us ( nice son huh?). That house has to be sold first and so a valuation needs to be done. A valuation means I need to get access to the house. Eventhough it has been our property, because it was the mother-in law, I never sought to make a key. We were not charging her rent while we both paid for it, and he (ex) was helping her to upkeep the house and in the last few years, he stayed there  instead of the current home before he filed.

There is a grey area when something is shared or not absolutely cut and dry(in this case the house is in both our names) where the law is concerned and yet I seem to always put myself in the position of defense rather than offense. My ex is stalling on this and I have waited a month. I'm trying to play by the 'nice' rules, give notice and sufficient time for him to act, let his mum know that a valuer will be by. He could have arranged it before me but he didn't. So I have to act. The cops do not say I'm in the right nor am I in the wrong if I have to force my way into the house to get the valuation done, perhaps I should go back to court to force an order.

There were many scenarios playing out in my head, if the occupants had opened the door but stopped me, I would have had to call the police and created more of a scene which made me uncomfortable but that was what asserting myself would have entailed. I kept thinking about his reactions and the possible consequences.
My concern was, can he file a complaint against me if I did something. Between the advise of the lawyer and the police, it seems it is my right as owner to enter the premises by whatever means.  If the police can't advise me against it or suggest the best way, it means it boils down to just me ensuring I can justify it and cover all the bases. Call the police ONLY if there is trouble caused. And so after much thought, and much pressure to not waste my off day and the valuer's time, I called in a locksmith. Thank God the locksmith and the valuer were understanding of my predicament. I can't seem to think of using the grey to my advantage.

I did all the right things, he was notified earlier,  there was a 2 hour waiting period,  I waited, I knocked, I called and still no one was home (so it seemed).  So I made a decision, get a locksmith, got the valuer to come back  Again I checked with the police and what they were not saying was 'I could not do it', and I even suggested for an officer to observe but they said no, just call if there is trouble.  So here I am on the offense.

Lo and behold, after we got the doors open and then the room doors which were also locked, we find my mother-in-law hiding in the room. Was she advised by her son that we would be coming, did she hear us knock, did she hear the phone ring.... NO NO NO... she said she needed to call her son, and the first thing out of her mouth on the phone was , 'they come into the house already '. I pity the poor woman and what her son has / is putting her through ( to lie on his behalf). 

He has to sell it as well and it has nothing to do with the clarification, so what is his game? He wants control of the sale? He was aware I would be there today and had told his mum not to answer the door or the phone and keep all the windows and curtains closed.

My lawyer, for the sake of me showing  MEAN, would have me banging down the door without any notice or preamble but to show I am the owner and I can do anything I want'. I'm advised I can't be soft, 'assert' she says, but I argue it's not about asserting it's about ensuring I am not doing anything illegal.  It feels that her definition of assertiveness is creating a scene to demand, but I realise she does not always give me the right advise where the grey area is concerned, because not all angles are explored, and that makes me uncomfortable. I'm so used to doing stuff in a 'civilized' manner, I have never had to call the police or think of using force in any situation before and now my ex has forced me to enter that arena, because he can't do anything amicably even if it is to both our benefit.  I think about it, but I can't just take his clothes and throw it out. I also keep thinking that one of the side effects will be stress on the kids if it's something they witness.

I had to do what I had to do, I can't stall or I will be out of funds to support the current roof over my head. The ex is playing games with the maintenance orders at the moment claiming that he is pending clarification. I'm trying to think of it as a adventure in assertiveness training. 
If you are not born with 'mean', it's hard to find it in you even after years of abuse.

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