It's been one of those days. For perfectly obvious reasons, I won't go in to specific details here (yes, Cam, I know you're still reading) but suffice it to say that I've spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy today arguing the toss about something that apparently needs my estranged husband's signature before it can be processed.
Why? Essentially because we are still legally married. Because, according to their records, he still exists. And because he exists and there's proof of our joint involvement, then he has rights, so should be informed - even though, technically, it has absolutely nothing to do with him, on any level. Great. Brilliant. How very just and correct of the law to be considering his rights.
What about my rights? What about the law fighting for me? Standing up for the person who's been wronged in this case? The innocent wife who's been duped; well and truly stitched up, beaten down, and messed around? What about the person who's been left in personal debt to the tune of tens of thousands by an unscrupulous husband who makes a habit out of running up enormous bills and refusing to pay? And who, by the way, is still continuing with that habit and showing no signs of slowing down. What about the fact that the very minute I understood the truth of the situation, I did everything within my power to stop matters getting worse?
Despite my personal heartbreak I immediately got on with things, did what I had to do and closed the business - making sure that the substantial amount of money in the account was ring-fenced to pay off as many business debts as possible. Note that I did NOT make any attempts to withdraw that money for my own personal benefit. Even with hindsight, I still would not have done it (although I'm told I would have been perfectly within my rights) because I simply don't work that way. I have a conscience, you see, and I know the difference between right and wrong. And on the odd occasion when I've strayed, I've known jolly well that it was wrong - and have not repeated my mistake.
But some people don't possess a conscience. They don't know the meaning of guilt. And they certainly don't give a monkeys about the law. Which is how they get to bend it so regularly - without being caught. Because they know that they'll find a get-out clause, or be able to pass it on over to somebody else who'll simply have to accept responsibility in their place.
Let's take mortgages, for example. I've just been told the story about a lady who had divorced her husband many years ago. In the settlement, the husband got to keep the marital home, and she went on to create a new life for herself. More than 7 years later, however, the mortgage company are now calling on her to repay the thousands of pounds that the mortage account is now in arrears. A debt that has been created by her ex-husband since their separation! Remember that he has been living in the property - not her. Remember that he has been refusing to pay the mortgage - not her. Remember that she has a new life and keeps her finances in check - not him. And yet the mortgage company have the right to chase her for the money because her husband has failed to pay! Even after all this time! So chase her they have, and pay up she must - while her ex-husband continues to plead poverty and gets away with it.
Now, you tell me - is that justice? Yes, anyone can spout about that being "the law" and ignore the reality of what is actually happening - but is it really what you and I would define as real justice? Have we really become such a nation of pen-pushers that we're no longer willing to stop and think about the consequences? That we're no longer willing to make a stand? To act on our instincts for once? To try and help the people who have clearly been wronged?
My feeling is that too many people these days are willing to hide behind laws and precedents that help them "win" at any cost, with no consideration of the facts, the real-life story, and the people involved. I really hope this is not the case. But I have a nagging feeling that much of our legal and moral back-bone has disappeared... at least from the evidence I've encountered over these past 12 months.
And I won't stand for it. I won't be told that I now have to honour his rights when he has made a total mockery of the trust that countless innocent people (including myself) have given him. The law may not be chasing him for his wrong-doings - but at the same time I'm sure as hell I won't let it weigh me down with it's archaic rules. I for one am certainly prepared to put my neck on the line - for this particular situation and for the many others I'm bound to encounter.
Whatever happened to protecting the innocent, preserving morality and doing the right thing..? It seems to me that instead of fighting for what's right, the law and financial institutions in particular opt instead to go for what they see as the easy target just to hit their quota. Catch the weak ones and tie them up in legal knots. They'll never fight back, and we've ticked all our boxes - job done, pat on the back, and off we go to the pub. Who's round is it?
Well - this "weakling" is stronger than you think. So watch out, because now I'm REALLY pissed off.