and I am happy to report that they are tears of relief. Validation. Gratitude.
What prompted these tears, you ask?
A letter and check in the mail from none other than the IRS. Along with his other deceptions, my ex-husband was apparently dishonest on taxes, filing different information that what I was shown. I first learned of this when a certified letter arrived at the house days after he left, demanding payment for a 2006 audit. The certified format was evidence that he had been aware of and dodging the issue for some time. I immediately paid that bill and the three others that arrived over the next two years.
In the divorce decree, he was declared responsible for reimbursing me for those back taxes. That money never came.
Once I realized he was not going to step forward and accept his responsibility, I applied for Innocent Spouse Relief with the IRS. I knew that this was a long shot; only a small percentage of applicants are granted relief and these usually have years of abuse documented. I spent a weekend gathering evidence to support my claim: screenshots of his text messages, his mugshot, his emails with his wife, his trip information to Uganda, joint account statements showing my paycheck going to pay for a pre-honeymoon in Brazil, and a synopsis of the whole story. I chuckled, thinking of the face of the person on the other end opening up the package that contained the makings of a soap opera.
It worked. They granted me relief.
Today I received my first check reimbursing me for what I paid. I am thankful for the money (it has been a very expensive few years), but I am more grateful to be believed, especially from a huge bureaucratic organization. To be labeled “innocent” is more precious to me than anything.
So, tonight I cried, some of the feelings of injustice washing away with the tears.