Suddenly out of the blue, I heard from my wife’s Attorneys that she was claiming some enormous and ridiculous amount of maintenance. This news had a shocking effect on me. It was like waking up from a deep sleep to find you’re in a living nightmare!
Our Divorce had been going on for years. We were living in this state of separateness. I was not acknowledged as a person of any importance until my wife needed something. Maybe work on the house; some plumbing or an electrical matter: perhaps help with her accounts or her car; or even if she didn’t feel well and needed medical attention or someone to sit with her or nurse her. Suddenly I was important for a brief moment whilst I was helping her. But once my help had been given, I was dismissed with no respect or courtesy; no thank you or gratitude. I’d served my purpose and had once again become an unwanted embarrassment.
Somehow, over this long period of time I’d settled into this routine. I wasn’t happy with it but I accepted it. My wife had already hired and fired three different firms of Attorneys, and there’d probably be more. I honestly didn’t think she’d go through with it as she kept changing her mind about this and that.
We were pensioners and had brought up our kids, who in turn had their own kids – our grandchildren; so our marriage was quite far advanced. Also, we weren’t dependent on our pensions. We’d had businesses together, and family businesses, we had family trusts, and I’d started up another business which was a going concern. I began to think my wife had more money than sense and too much time on her hands.
I had instructed Attorneyswho handled Divorces, but they seemed to have only done the basics and obtained a Trial date. Thereafter I’d heard nothing more from them. Quickly, I went to see them to discuss what to do about this maintenance nonsense. Strangely they were of the opinion that my wife could claim that amount and possibly have it awarded to her by the Court.
Sitting there in my Attorneys’ Offices something didn’t feel right and I began to wonder how hard they were fighting for me: I was certainly losing my confidence and trust in them. So I made a decision that I should have made a long time ago. I fired them; paid their account to date; collected my file, and looked for a Specialist Divorce Attorney.
A few days later I was consulting with Martin Vermaak of Martin Vermaak Specialist Divorce and Family Law Attorneys. I’d gone to him for a second opinion to see what my current position was in my Divorce matter. I was looking at this Attorney and wondering if he would be any better than my last Attorneys. After he’d looked at the documents I’d brought him and listened to my story, he started asking me questions. He asked a lot of questions and I was really surprised to find how much he wanted to gain the deepest possible understanding of my situation. These were all questions I’d never been asked by my previous Attorneys.
It was three and a half months before my Divorce date, and I’d just met an Attorney who gave me the confidence that I needed to put my trust in him. My head was spinning with all the facts and figures we were going through and yet there were many more details we had yet to cover. I instructed him with my matter and I’m glad to say that he took over. That was a complete game changer!
This Attorney was thorough, analytical and relentless in his search for facts. I began to realise what Specialist really meant. He soon got a clear overview of my matter and then explained to me what was going on. Seems my wife was trying to claim this huge amount of maintenance partly based on the assumption that certain property (actually legally owned by our son) belonged to me and thus formed part of our estate.
Correspondence started flying between my new Attorney and my wife’s Attorneys. Everyone woke up and re-examined all the data.
The Divorce went through without any hitches and the best thing of all is that Martin Vermaak was able to provethat my son owned the property and therefore it could not be included in the assets that formed part of the joint estate. The result? He saved me approximately R10m (which I would have lost had I stayed with my previous Attorneys)! Now that’s a complete life changer!
Divorce is a difficult situation that makes everyone involved a little crazy. Some Attorneys are good, and some are just brilliant. Martin Vermaak changed my life and he was a good man to have in my corner. All his staff treated me with the same courtesy and respect that he did. I felt completely different once he became my Attorney; I began to regain my self-confidence, and took an interest in life again.
The devil is in the detail they say. When it comes to Divorce I’ve seen the proof of the difference between an Attorney who handles Divorces and an Attorney who specialises in Divorces. I have a permanent smile on my face and a new and happy life. Even at my age you can start another chapter!