How did Wendy Davis get her divorce date wrong? (hint, it’s easy)

Wendy Davis, democratic gubernatorial candidate for Texas, is under fire over “inconsistencies” in her personal history. She has been telling people that she was divorced at 19 when her divorce was actually official when she was 21. The scandal, I know.

This piece of information has been seized upon by her opponents as some kind of reflection of her moral character. According to Rush Limbaugh, he of four marriages, this makes her a “fake” and apparently a “head case.” No word on what Mr. Limbaugh thinks of hiking the Appalachian trail (a good time to clear your head?).

Ms. Davis, as one columnist called it, is being swift-boated.

Like Ms. Davis I had a short first marriage that I would really rather forget. In my head I was married for a year, partly because I filed at a year and partly because the situation was so terrible I had really wanted to file before that. But it takes a while to get up the courage, and then to file, and if the other party isn’t on board for the thing it takes a while to wind its way through the courts. When all was said and done with the motions and counter motions and what ever mandatory waiting period there was I wasn’t actually divorced for 7 or possibly 8 months later after filing. I don’t actually remember and that was only about 15 years ago. My lawyer took care of things so I didn’t have to show up in court on the actual day, but because we were legally divorced before the settlement was hammered out there was more back and forth paper work afterwards to add to the whole dates confusion. Especially because it is something I would really rather forget.

I can’t remember the date I got married, I know it was in May. Trust me when I saw I’ve forgotten a lot of it. I think I was 32 when I filed for divorce and so if asked, I’d probably say I was divorced at 32, except now that I actually think about it I was 33 because I filed before my birthday and wasn’t divorced until several months after my birthday. So yeah, it’s pretty easy to get the dates mixed up.

Could this have possibly happened to Wendy Davis? Could she have thought about getting divorced at 19, maybe started making some preparations, moved out, filed a few months later, and then the whole mess wasn’t finished until she was 21? Of course. I mean what is the profit is swapping 19 for 21.

I am sure for Ms. Davis the whole thing was a chapter from which she hoped to move on, and so remembering those kinds of details, even for a lawyer, would probably require heading off to the country register (or looking online if all the records have been uploaded). And again, what does it really matter if she made preparations to get divorced that started at 19 but the process wasn’t finished until she was 21?

The whole thing, apart for the obvious sexist distinction (I mean there are flow charts for sex scandals for male politicians there are so many), is clearly an attempt to distract from some real GOP scandals (Chris Christie and Bob McDonell I’m looking at you) is laughable because many people, including me, aren’t accurate about their exact length of marriage and it’s not born out of any malice.

Sometimes you just don’t care to remember and that isn’t a crime, it’s normal.

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  1. I’m in Ireland and I know somebody here who ran away to Scotland to get married at 16. It didn’t last and she always says she got divorced when she was 18, she actually got divorced at 22 because we have a stupid law over here that says you can’t get divorced unless you’ve lived separately from your spouse for four years.
    Do I correct her or call her a liar? No because I know 18 is the point when she realised she had to end her marriage, and I think it would be insulting for me to say “well technically you were married for another four years”.

    Wendy Davis’ detractors will just jump on anything they can, even meaningless things like this.

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