The wife and husband with their lawyers blessings elected to list, to sell their Houlton Maine home.Things were not rosy between the pair but they were still talking. Not raising their voices in front of the kids at this stage. It had not gotten to any rock throwing, back biting during the intial phase of the real estate marketing process. But then a "buyer happened" and the true colors of the divorce derailment process started to shine thru brightly. As a real estate broker who represents both sellers, you tip toe thru a mine field. Chose your words carefully. Trying not to take a side as you negotiate to and fro. Not just with a buyer...but between the sellers too. Like a mediator running back and forth between court house conference rooms. To plank by plank build a divorce settlement package. The final proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was not a real estate buyer generated wrinkle. But an old push, dust covered unused lawnmower that had over night become platinum plated. Some how very valuable and the ransom bargaining chip to get the sale to a closing, settle the divorce.
Sent several emails, faxes to the wife's divorce lawyer. Made a final phone call with news our buyer was walking without his help in getting the sale off dead center. Could he put the issue on the top of his yellow legal pad list to discuss with the wife in his next teleconference or court pre trial hearing. Ditto dog and pony plea for the husband's lawyer. Wife's lawyer indicated he had made his chunk of change in this divorce and sounded fed up with his client. His words "if you want to mediate and finish up this divorce, be my guest". Have at it.
So back and forth, like a CSI television investigator I started with a dissect of the old Wizard brand lawnmower that came with the home when we sold it to the couple years before. It had been left in the corner of the garage. Probably did not work, was not used in the lawn clipping process at this property anyway. They had a big shiny brand new top of the line John Deere rider. And nothing runs like a Deere remember?
Anyway, establishing and getting both parties holding up the sale over the final ownership of this road weary push lawnmower to agree that on the open market, this grass muncher represented maybe a twenty dollar bill value tops.But its what the lawnmower represented as the divorce started over a year before begins to come to a conclusion that became apparent to me.
Fighting over stuff..as much as either side could get in the divorce. And the lawnmower, this last bargaining chip, was what it had all come down to in the final analysis.It had come to the point where both parties hated each other. Were throwing rocks. Using both hands. Bitter, hurt, angry, emotional. Had nothing good to say about the other if you let them guide the conversation in that direction. The divorce that started out that regardless of whether it was concluded by the closing date of the home, the sale could happen now held the buyers as hostage. Funds from the sale that were to be held in escrow for the two divorce lawyers to write poison pen letters back and forth to keep the process going, which lined their pockets. Now the home sale as being used as leverage to tip the divorce scales to settlement. The lawnmower in the garage represents the final letting go, jumping off the cliff for each in to the next chapter of mom and dad's life that lay at the bottom. I had to sit with each, administering tissues to the wife in one session in the home's kitchen. Then hear the husband cursing how much this woman had cost him during our "mediation" back at the real estate office.
The buyers in the sale wanted the mower too, for the principle of it they said. Feeling they were paying top dollar and being very patient during the divorce dance that they were not supposed to attend. That both attorneys promised they would avoid, be kept clear of. The buyer now beginning to wonder if the sale was going to happen or not. Should they look around for another home. As I assured them this sale would happen, the Dr Phil in me trying to spare personal seller divorce details but pointing out it was just a $20 dollar lawnmower if everyone could just step back and cool down. Finally the husband conceded. The wive then decided she did not want the mower but the buyer could have it, anyone but the husband. As long as that no good worthless...Darth Vader she was married to did not park it in his new garage.
Bolting on the US RT 1 real estate sale SOLD panel was happy and sad at the same time. Long, time consuming, emotional and mental draining sale. But it helped me buy groceries and the buyers/sellers get on with their lives. But the seller's two young boys and visitation from the Dad's part never was the concern. He figured that would come later on after the dividing the spoils. That was sad. And I remember during a showing to a different buyer, those two boys with a switch and fishing pole, each beating a wire frame seamstress dress holder with mom's wedding dress on it in the garage next to that mower. They were hollering, hooping, laughing and it all seemed very bizarre. The kids caught in the cross fire of a Maine divorce.