Liz Jones felt drained as she left the court. It had been the second time that she had been forced to sit opposite Brian in the district judge's room, but the experience had been just as traumatic as the first. Even the sight of Brian and his lawyer being torn off a strip for filing an incomplete Form E had done little to make her feel better.
Her solicitor told her afterwards that she had obtained all of the orders she had sought, but Liz did not feel that any real progress had been made towards a financial settlement - only a lot of lawyer's talk. Instead, all she could see was the matter dragging on interminably, while she had to suffer the uncertainty of whether she and the children would even have a home to live in when everything was eventually sorted out.
To compound matters Brian had shown up at court with Shirley in tow. Liz was sure that he had done this just to upset her, and he had succeeded. Watching the two of them holding hands at the other end of the waiting area had been almost too much for her to bear.
"Trust him to bring that trollop with him." Commented Liz's mother, as they made their way back to the car.
Liz wanted to appear unbothered, but the tears welled up in her eyes. "At least he couldn't bring her into the judge's room." She replied.
"You know, you should make him pay - take him for every penny. That'll wipe the smug grin off his face."
Liz recalled how the district judge had already achieved that when he had told Brian off. "He wasn't grinning when he came out of the court." She said.
"Hmm, maybe he'll realise now that he has to do as he's told, for once."
Liz doubted that. The look on Brian's face as he left the court had suggested to her that he was now even more determined than ever to make her life a misery. "He won't." She said. "He's stubborn. He's just going to keep dragging things on as long as he can."
Her mother stopped and turned to Liz. "You've just got to keep fighting." She said. "Don't let him win."
"I'm not sure there are any winners in something like this." Liz replied. "We all lose - except the lawyers."
Liz's mother didn't reply. Even through her biased eyes she could see the truth in that. They walked in silence into the car park.
"And how much longer will I be able to keep that?" Asked Liz tearfully, pointing at her 4 x 4. "I need that to ferry the kids around, but I can't afford to run it on the money Brian's paying me." She broke into sobs.
Liz's mother cuddled her. "Never mind, love." She comforted. "We'll make him pay. We'll make him pay..."