Friday, January 07, 2005

My stomach is doing somersaults. I'm in court in the morning, not something that normally bothers me, but then I'm usually there representing some other poor schmuck, not on my own behalf.

Tomorrow I have to come face to face with Stephen and his bid to wriggle out of his maintenance arrears and get any future payments wiped out. He rather amusingly suggested to me on the phone that his intention was to then pay me lump sums directly. Ha! In 14 years he's never once made a regular payment (and we're not talking vast amounts) or indeed made any payments without having first been hauled before the court and threatened with prison. I suspect his family have bailed him out in the past, but as he's now burnt his bridges with them, he's stook in a corner and terrified that he's going to jail. I don't know why he's worrying, even the lifers wouldn't find him attractive.

I won't see him sent down, of course, and chances are the arrears will be remitted and the order reduced in his favour, but I just feel I need to make some sort of stand on Jack's behalf. I had asked my former boss to represent me and he'd agreed but when I popped to see him on Tuesday to make sure he was still ok with that, he informed me he'd double-booked and as the other client was paying and treating him to an all-expenses-paid day out in London, he won.

I decided I'd do it myself, it's not like I'm a stranger to the courtroom or anything, but then I started to get really anxious about it as this afternoon wore on and I made a few calls to friends in the trade, most of whom were out til Monday. I eventually got through to a lovely chap who I deal with from time to time and he's agreed to hold my hand if necessary. So now I've filled out my Statement of Means (how is it on paper I appear to have plenty to live on, but there's always more month left at the end of the money?) and shall be going home to iron my most frugal looking outfit and hope the magistrates don't recognize Gucci at 20 paces.

If there was ever a night that I could really do with a sherry to steady my nerves, it's now, but that would spell disaster - and I can hardly take the moral high ground if my eyes are redder than Stephen's.

With my luck the court will take one look at me and order me to maintain him. Now that would be truly awful!

I'm going home now. I've cleared my desk just in case I am so traumatised from tomorrow's hearing that I have no option but to dash home and start the weekend early.

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