The waiting room was cold and uninviting. The fifteen minute wait felt more like an hour. The receptionist finally invited her inside.
She traveled down what seemed a long corridor. She led herself into the attorney’s office. He stood from his over-sized desk and greeted her with a warm smile.
As he spoke, her mind drifted. She focused on the walls adorned with diplomas, certificates, and photos. She heard every word spoken by the attorney, but she was not paying attention.
“As it is, with you working double shifts, it is unlikely you will qualify for bankruptcy. The fact is, your income is too high right now; not to mention that your children’s tuition at private school is not an allowable expense.”
She snapped out of her daze. “What? My income is too high? But I am broke. How about the lawsuits?”
“We received the maximum of $10,000 under the auto insurance policy. The medical bills are killing you. And with your husband not working, I’m sorry, but bankruptcy is your only way out but your income has to be reduced.”
“Let’s sue the driver.”
“We have already gone over that. The driver has a limited income and no assets. If you file a lawsuit against the driver, he will simply file for bankruptcy and wipe out the debt of the lawsuit.”
“So I can’t file for bankruptcy because my income is too high but the driver hits my husband while riding his motorcycle, and he can file for bankruptcy and pay nothing?” She stood abruptly from her chair. “My husband lives off disability. My children will be leaving the only school they know. Our car was repossessed. And now, we are six months behind on our mortgage. My husband Michael can’t walk, but the driver destroys our life because he was so preoccupied with texting and driving and what happened to him? What has changed in his life? He walked away! And with what? A traffic ticket for violation of the right of way? He didn’t even get points on his license!”
The Attorney looked away with sadness. It is a story he has heard far too many times.
That night, Michael, as usual, sat on the sofa, taking one pain med after another. He eyes teared up. He knew what he had to do. When his wife and children fell asleep, he emailed an old frat buddy of his.
“Hey Johnnie. Hope all is well. As we spoke about before, it is time. I am a burden to my wife and kids. I need to file for divorce so they can move on with their life.”
That night, he cried himself to sleep.
When you text/drive, it doesn’t end with a traffic ticket. That is only the beginning. The results destroy a family.