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How long does it take to get divorced? Two and a half minutes, in my fresh experience. Nearly 19 years of marriage legally dissolved in under three minutes from appearing in front of the judge to walking out the door a
free single woman.
I moved out April 5. The divorce was finalized October 4. The past six months have been exhausting and overwhelming. I’ve been forced to analyze everything I thought I knew about myself, about my life, about my relationships, about my past. I’ve been forced to learn, grow, stretch, heal.
Analyzing. Learning. Growing. Stretching. Healing.
That shit is HARD, yo. So freaking hard.
I hadn’t been happy for a long time. Yet…I didn’t see leaving as an option.
Until it became the only option.
I just couldn’t stay any longer. I struggle with shame, anger and frustration at myself for staying in a marriage that wasn’t healthy for me for basically my entire adult life. We met when I was 20 and got married a year later. I’m now 40.
My hands shake every time I see him, six months after moving out, even with divorce papers safely stored in my desk. I shake because I missed out on so much while I was sacrificing so much of myself. I shake because I’m having a hard time forgiving myself. I shake because I’m not completely convinced I deserve my forgiveness.
I didn’t realize how heavy the weight was I’d been carrying for so many years. My body hurt all the time. I was always exhausted and had a constant headache. I cried at the drop of a hat. I thought I just wasn’t taking care of myself, that motherhood was tiring and that I was “just a crier.”
The constant pain in my back, neck and shoulders went away soon after I moved out. My headaches are now occasional. I have more energy and don’t feel sick all the time. I rarely cry.
The process has been really hard. I’m sure there are many more difficult pieces in the healing process. But I no longer feel the heaviness constantly weighing down every bit of my body, mind and emotions.
My therapist kept warning me I might be hit with grief as the divorce approached. I felt fine about the divorce. Actually, the only time I struggled was when it was postponed three weeks because the judge cancelled court on the originally scheduled day. I wanted it over. I wanted that tie snipped.
I asked a local friend to attend court with me, someone I’ve known since high school. I got up early to get ready. I put on a new dress, real shoes (instead of flip flops) and makeup. I sent selfies to my squad before I got in the car.
I picked up my friend. We were about 20 minutes early. I didn’t know how long it would take to park in the garage, go through security and find the right chambers, so we wound up with a little time to spare. We sat outside the chambers talking about her divorces, Meghan Markle and other random chatter until the doors opened. My lawyer arrived soon after and explained the process.
“It will be quick,” he said. “Less than five minutes.”
“I can do it in three,” another lawyer boasted.
My now ex-husband didn’t have to attend because I was the petitioner.
The judge took the stand at 8:30 a.m., exactly the appointed time.
I was up first.
He called my name and I walked up to the judge with my attorney.
I was asked to verify my name and that I wanted the divorce.
A bit of legal mumbo jumbo was said.
And then I was declared divorced.
“HA! TWO AND A HALF MINUTES!” my attorney boasted to his colleague as we walked away. How long does it take to get divorced? So much less time than I expected.
My friend and I went to breakfast. I had biscuits and gravy.
I notified the other key players in my support system it was done. I was home by 9:30 a.m.
It’s been almost two weeks. I don’t feel grief about the divorce. I feel a little lighter that I can check that off the list of things that need to happen in the process of building a healthy life for myself. But I really don’t feel that different.
Those two and a half minutes were important legally, but I was so ready to move on. I want to celebrate this new beginning. Stay tuned for details on a fabulous party.