Thursday, January 28, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: Emma Petit's Divorce Lawyer

We have previously read that Emma (Schafer) Petit divorced her husband, Emile Petit.  This week's very short document in Emma's ongoing story is the receipt for her payment for legal services in conjunction with her divorce suit against Emile.  It is handwritten in beautiful penmanship with pencil on a piece of 10" x 8" lined paper.  The paper was folded into quarters.  The reverse is blank.

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                   Vallejo, Cal. Mar. 14/07

Received from Mrs. E. Petit
Fifty Dollars <$50.00> in full
for legal services in divorce
action of Petit vs. Petit

                        John T. Ryan.

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It appears that Emma was still living in Vallejo when she divorced Emile.  I have to admit, I wonder how $50 ranked in 1907 for the services of a divorce lawyer.  Was that low end, middle of the road, or top notch?  How did California's rates compare to the rest of the country?

Emma apparently paid for the divorce, and she also paid Emile $500 to write himself out of her life.  She must have had money of her own, but so far nothing has specifically been said about her having a job.

At some point in the future I will probably want to try to obtain a copy of the complete divorce file.  I hope Solano County hasn't done what New Haven County, Connecticut, and San Francisco did:  dump all of their old divorce files (without microfilming them!) because they had space problems and decided the files just weren't important and no one would ever want them.  Even with that, at least San Francisco kept the registers of actions.  New Haven has nothing left.

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