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Inspirational Stories

October 06, 2021

After Wife's Death, Widower Finds Out They've Been Divorced for More than 20 Years – Story of the Day

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Stanley’s wife, Clara, died unexpectedly and never left a will. But when he started to arrange her estate, his lawyer discovered they had been divorced for over 20 years for the weirdest reason. Then Clara’s inheritor appeared.

Clara and Stanley got married in the late 80s, and they decided to raise their children in West Virginia. But they only had one daughter, Jasmine. Unfortunately, in the 2000s, she got mixed up with the wrong crowd.

When Jasmine turned 18, she left the house and cut them off despite Clara and Stanley’s best efforts. Her boyfriend, Phineas, was a horrible influence on her and filled her head with all kinds of lies about them.

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It had been over ten years since they saw Jasmine, but they still held hope that she would come back someday. But Clara unexpectedly had a heart attack, and the doctors couldn’t do anything. She died and Stanley was heartbroken.

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He didn’t even know if Jasmine would find out about her mother. But he had to get Clara’s affairs in order. She had not left a will or anything because they were still so young. I never expected to lose her so soon, Stanley thought.

After the funeral, he met with his lawyer, Nathaniel Caldwell. “Mr. Cohen, my condolences. I hate to meet under these circumstances, but it’s important to arrange everything,” Mr. Caldwell greeted.

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“Yes, Mr. Caldwell. I also want to get my affairs ready, too, just in case. You never know what could happen,” Stanley responded.

“That’s right. But there’s something I have to tell you. So my secretary arranged all the pertinent documents regarding Mrs. Cohen after your call, and there’s a bit of a problem,” Mr. Caldwell began.

“What’s wrong?” Stanley wondered, confused.

“Well…according to the paperwork, you and Mrs. Cohen got divorced in the early 2000s,” the lawyer explained.

“What? That’s impossible! We have never even slept apart since we got married. There must be a mistake,” Stanley pointed out.

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“We are trying to find out what happened. But that’s the situation we have right now. Since you are divorced, her next of kin would inherit her estate,” Mr. Caldwell explained.

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“That would be Jasmine, I guess. But I don’t understand how this is possible. Could she get divorced without my consent? And if she did, why did she continue to live with me?” Stanley asked.

“Unless she kept a diary, I have no way to answer your questions. But it would not be possible to divorce without your signature. Don’t worry, though. We are looking into this matter thoroughly. For now, I have to contact your daughter,” the lawyer explained.

“We're estranged. I have not seen or heard from her in many years. I guess she would get Clara’s savings, right?” Stanley pondered.

“She also gets your house, Mr. Cohen. It’s in your wife’s name. Maybe you can reach a deal with her. That’s all for now. I’ll reach you if there’s any new development,” Mr. Caldwall finished. Stanley left the meeting dumbfounded.

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He couldn’t believe Clara divorced him. It has to be a mistake, he thought after leaving his lawyer’s office. A few days later, Stanley heard several sharp knocks on his door. It was Jasmine.

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“Jasmine! Darling! I’m so glad to see you!” Stanley bellowed and started to tear up. But Jasmine’s face didn't show emotion.

“The lawyer said Mom’s money is mine, and so is this house, right?” Jasmine said as she entered the living room.

“Ugh…I guess, but there’s an error, so they're checking things out,” he mumbled. But Jasmine walked around the area, looking around.

“Well, whatever. I’m going to need you to leave as soon as possible when that’s clear. Sorry, but I want to live here now,” his daughter said heartlessly.

“Jasmine, this is my home. I have nowhere else to go. Can’t we talk about this?” Stanley begged.

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“Sorry, nope. I don’t want to do that. I cut you off for a reason. You didn’t support my relationship, and I don’t want anything to do with you,” Jasmine continued.

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“Are you still with that vagabond?” Stanley asked angrily.

“No, but my point still stands. Things would have been so much easier if you had just accepted him. But no…” Jasmine mocked.

“Jasmine, your mother just died! And you don’t even care about that?” Stanley growled. She looked at him with a deadpan expression, as if it genuinely didn’t matter, and shrugged her shoulders.

“Well, the estate has not been settled, so leave my house right now. I’m so disappointed in you. You’re a grown woman, and you can’t even show a bit of compassion,” Stanley accused.

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Jasmine scoffed. “Fine, I’ll leave. But this house is mine, and when everything gets settled, you’re out of here for good!” she yelled and left.

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Stanley sat down and rubbed his forehead. Where did we go wrong, Clara? he wondered to the heavens.

Mr. Caldwell called two weeks later. “Mr. Cohen, we've discovered what happened. In 2001, a woman with your wife’s exact name, Clara Cohen, filed for divorce. But her husband was abusive and wouldn’t sign it,” the lawyer revealed.

“Oh wow,” Stanley whispered on the phone.

“Yes. So her lawyer got the courts to grant the divorce without his signature. Apparently, there was a huge mix-up in the office, and they accidentally divorced you guys. This is insane! I haven’t seen this kind of situation in my entire career!” Mr. Caldwell exclaimed.

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“But can it be reversed?” Stanley wondered, relieved that his wife had not divorced him secretly.

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“Yes, we have to show everything to a judge, and they will clear things up. But I feel bad for that woman who's still married to that man,” Mr. Caldwell stated.

They went to court shortly afterward, and Stanley was granted Clara’s estate as her husband. Jasmine attended the hearing and was furious with the judge’s decision. She grabbed her bags and exited the room.

But Stanley ran after her. “Jasmine, wait! Please! Wait!” he yelled until she stopped in the hallway.

“What do you want? You get everything, and I get nothing just like you wanted,” Jasmine sneered at him.

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“That’s not what I wanted. I was prepared to give you the house. I already arranged everything so that you inherit it all when I’m gone. But what I want is my daughter back. Please, give me a chance to rebuild our relationship,” Stanley begged.

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Just then, Jasmine finally showed emotion and her eyes watered. “I…don’t know if I can do that. It’s been so long,” she began.

“Please, let’s visit your mother’s grave together. Let’s forget and forgive each other for everything. We are all the family we have left in the world. I don’t want to lose you again, baby,” Stanley cried.

Jasmine broke down and ran to Stanley’s arms. They held each other tightly for many minutes. Afterward, they went home together. Jasmine explained how horrible her life had been since she left years ago.

“I should have listened to you. But I was so stupid. It’s like my ex filled my head with so many lies. But then, when I got rid of him, I didn’t dare to face you…to ask for forgiveness. I was so scared,” Jasmine explained tearfully.

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“I’m so sorry. We should have listened better. Maybe we could have done more for you. But now, we have to look forward. You’re here, and we’re starting over. I forgive you. Can you forgive me for not fighting harder?” Stanley stressed.

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“I forgive you too, Dad. Let’s start over!” Jasmine told him.

Clara, we got our baby back, he thought as he hugged his daughter again.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Forgive each other for past mistakes. You never know what can happen and how short life can be.
  • Get your affairs in order. Clara died unexpectedly without a will, and it created a big problem for her living relatives. It’s best to get everything ready even when you’re young.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them. 

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who met a young boy at his wedding and froze when he discovered the truth.

This story is a work of fiction inspired by a subscriber’s account and written by a professional writer. Names, characters, businesses, events, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events that have occurred is purely coincidental. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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