I went into this marriage 17 years ago with the best of intentions. My now former spouse had similarly good intentions as far as I know. Hey, nobody goes into a marriage hoping for a divorce;right? Nonetheless, the seeds for divorce are planted on the same day that you say your wedding vows. I guess what I am trying to say is that the same things that you like in a partner are likely to annoy you later. Whether or not they ultimately lead to a divorce is the topic of a totally different article. I don't have time for that today. I'm still reeling from the experience that I am about to describe.
My ex and I left this marriage as friends. We were both painfully aware that we lost our way and realized together that the time had come for us to move on with our lives. We vowed to make the separation and divorce amicable. We are both in the mental health field and believe in the importance of honoring the distinct and unique personalities, values and needs of others.
Together and without any contention we split up assets, spoke about the goals that we each held for the future and wished each other good fortune and godspeed. We both felt pretty good. That was until we arrived in court this week to dissolve the marriage permanently. We had even gone to lunch together prior to the assigned court time with the hope of parting on a good note. While we were awaiting the judge's arrival we discussed the many trips we had taken including trips to Spain, Italy, Ireland and Paris. We shared our memories of those trips and decided that the trip to Paris was the best one despite my desire to walk and shop endlessly. We laughed. In that moment I think I really did understand the true nuance of the word-bittersweet.
We were seated in a gloomy courtroom waiting for the judge to arrive. A let's get down to business judge arrived. She did not look happy. In fact, she looked angry in my opinion. She had a "I'd rather be anywhere else than here" look on her face. Okay, that was fine but things got worse. She called my ex-husband to the stand and asked him some perfunctory questions and was done. Then she got to me. She asked me my name and then complained that my voice was too low and that she would not be able to continue if I didn't speak more loudly. Ouch. I felt so scolded. Then she asked me if I was aware that my marriage had irretrievably broken down. "Yes, your honor I am aware." I felt slapped in the face like a bad girl. It wasn't the question that was disturbing but it was her tone. She asked me if I was pregnant. Yikes. I didn't know that this was a standard question. She asked a few more questions in the same snarky manner and then said that the marriage was dissolved and left the room.
Wow. I was fine with the divorce but upset by what felt like a scolding from a judge. I've asked myself several times if perhaps she was simply acting like any other judge would in this situation. I don't know what the answer is. I hope to never be in a courtroom again. So, when people say I'll have my day in court they should think twice -- especially if you are the sensitive type.