Even if you know getting divorced was the right thing to do, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the multitude of emotions that people naturally face when they receive their Decree Nisi certificate.
This is the first of two certificates you receive when you get divorced in England and Wales. The Decree Nisi certificate is pronounced when a judge has considered your divorce application papers and makes the decision that you and your spouse are allowed to get divorced.
Receiving your Decree Nisi certificate is a big deal. It means the divorce is really happening. It makes everything very real. That can be very uncomfortable. Allow yourself time and space to feel and think whatever comes naturally; this is an important part of the recovery process.
Today, one of my clients, received her Decree Nisi certificate. She has very kindly shared her personal blog about this significant day:
The Brown Envelope
“Today a characterless brown envelope landed on my door mat. I carelessly opened it and suddenly, shockingly, my chest tightened and I was inexplicably gripped by a sense of anxiety and enormous loss. It was the piece of paper outlining my Decree Nisi. Seeing a third party assessing in black and white the nature of the breakdown of my marriage had an unexpected impact on me.
How can one generic, ubiquitous sentence ‘the respondent has committed adultery with the co-respondent and that the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent’ sum up 10 years of marriage, two beautiful children and a complex web of feelings, emotions, regrets, disappointments, happiness and despair?
The document went on to detail where and when the marriage was solemnised. Reading it, alone after the school run, with the breakfast dishes piled in the sink, the day’s mundane chores beckoning, the birds outside still chirping, the postman casually pushing bombshells through neighbours’ letterboxes, I was transported back to that day. From my suburban, toast-crumbed kitchen I was thrust into the sunshine outside a tiny, ornate church 6000 miles and 10 years away, surrounded by the most precious people in my life, about to make a commitment that would affect everything from that moment on.
The contents of that innocuous brown envelope should not have been so shocking. After all, I know exactly how I got here. I held my hand every step of the way. I was there for the difficult decision to move countries; I was there when a faint blue line on a stick told us we wouldn’t be doing this alone, I was there for our choosing of paint, our choosing of careers, our choosing of schools and his choosing of someone else over me. We chose to part. These are details. Everyone has their details.
We chose to part with care and respect for our children. We chose to try and be reasonable. We chose to be civil and supportive and we don’t get it right all the time, but we do know it was the right thing to do. So why should this brown envelope hold such power? That someone called Judge K could dispassionately hold that this marriage is now intolerable was strangely shocking. He wasn’t there on that warm March day in 2008. He didn’t see my dress, he didn’t tut at the terrible speech by the best man, he didn’t laugh at my Dad’s attempts to speak Greek for my husband’s family, he didn’t see the tear stained faces of my overemotional in-laws, he didn’t eat endless curling canapés in the sun while the photographers took hours with the photos. He isn’t in any of the albums. I have never met him, but there he is, in black and white ‘holding’ that this marriage is all but over. And it is.
No matter how hard you try to control them or channel them there are some feelings that will, like wilful children, refuse to be calmed and rationalised. They creep up on you when you least expect it and have you clutching the kitchen counter through a film of tears. They also remind you that you are alive and can feel and love and regret and grieve and all the things that make us human. And that’s not shocking. That’s wonderful.”
No one gets married thinking they will face divorce. It’s a challenging and horrible thing for anyone to have to cope with. Stay strong. You do not have to do this alone. Rhiannon Ford Divorce Consultancy provides bespoke one to one support for the legal, practical and emotional issues you may be facing with your divorce.
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