My Two Cents On Divorce Court Etiquette


My STBX (soon-to-be-ex) and I had to be in court recently to review our divorce agreement to which we weren’t agreeing.  He had sent me one to which I scoffed at and now it was his turn.  Before meeting with our lawyers, we had wait time while our lawyers were talking with other clients who were also at court.  Interestingly enough, STBX and I sat together, sorry smiles on our faces, with the thought in my head, ‘well, we at least can still sit together and not act like the rest who are so angry that they can’t even sit in the same area, let alone next to each other.’  It’s kinda like when you don’t know anyone else, but this one person, whom you may not really like?  Do you know what I mean?  Has this ever happened to you with your STBX?

As fate would have it, I was already seated in a bank of chairs and there was only one seat open that was next to me.  He shyly smiled and sat down next to me with a shrug of his shoulders.  I know we were the only divorcing couple sitting next to each other there as I had been there for awhile and had watched as others chose seats far away from their partners and some who occasionally glared at their spouses from across the room.

It’s bizarre to me how a marriage can fall apart so completely and communication can be so absurdly demolished that you can barely sit in the same room together and wait to get divorced.  I watched some spouses catch a glimpse of their partners and refuse to sit in the same area.  Instead they opted to stand awkwardly off to the side while they waited to be called, busily texting on their phones.

I clearly remember the love I had for my STBX when we got married.  Full of hope, dreams and love, the memories of the beginning of our relationship and marriage were special.  I would imagine most people would have similar feelings about the beginnings.  What appalls me is the ending, as I watched hateful glances be thrown to and fro between divorcing spouses.  I am grateful that even though it’s been really rocky and awful throughout the process, it was never outwardly hate-filled between us.

I watch the couples be called two by two to talk with the judge and the panelists, accompanied by their lawyers and I imagine the meanness masquerading the hurt they feel inside.  At least, that’s my two cents, for what it’s worth.

So please, use your manners in divorce court.  Be respectful.  Let bygones be bygones.  Let go of the past and embrace the future of your new chapter.  You don’t need to act ugly in retaliation.  You don’t need to do anything, but be.  Take the high road.  Be yourself.  Be peaceful.  I know deep down inside, you may be sad like I am.  You may be hurting.  You may be angry and have just cause for every single one of the emotions.  You don’t have to be a frozen, non-emotional person, but nor do you need to show everyone else your barely concealed anger.

There’s a fine line between love and hate and indifference.  Do you know when you crossed over the line of love to the other side?  Because honestly, the ironic thing is that you married this person – remember – through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?  Have you ever stopped to wonder what the hell happened after you took your marriage vows?


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6 Responses to My Two Cents On Divorce Court Etiquette

  1. BeowulfSabrina says:

    There is another scenario here. One in which the husband had an affair,, demanded his wife of 26 years allow him to explore his new relationship, devalue and discard this same loving and faithful wife of 26 years and then attempt financial harm when she says no, she cannot disrespect her vows that still mean so much to her, as her heart breaks over and over again. So a divorce happens. Not one she wants, but he runs away because he won’t allow himself to be forgiven which she still wants to do. I will not sit with my husband at the hearing. He ended up giving me 3 STDs, one of which could be life threatening. No apology, no remorse, no responsibility. And you know what? I still love him. But I will not sit with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janieleeds says:

      Sabrina, I am proud of you for standing your ground. I understand your still loving him for how do we turn off love after so many years? I am grieving with you dear friend and even though mine didn’t have an affair (as far as I know), I have a friend who had the exact situation as you! He wanted to pursue other relationships, gave her STD and felt she owed him the opportunity to not be monogamous. He also attempted the financial harm! I think there’s a pattern here because your stories are much the same – even down to the time married. She is better now, having moved into the next grief stage of ‘how dare he?’ and then into finding her voice again. But it takes time to heal, to accept what we find unacceptable and to keep getting up in the morning. The question of WHY? plagued her for a long time (I think it does for all of us). I am sending you big healing hugs xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • BeowulfSabrina says:

        WOW. I am speechless. The SAME? Yes, such a pattern seems to emerge with the covert narcissist/comorbid borderline, as I have learned. I have an attny well versed in high conflict divorce, who completely understands this dynamic-it’s a tough component to add to an already emotional divorce situation. Please send my love and understanding to your friend. My heart goes out to her. (PS in my other response/comment, I forgot I had already mentioned stds so sorry for the repeat) Finding our voice that has been covertly silenced for so many years is HARD but liberating. I think the answer to “why” is that they are too damaged to connect on any authentic level. What I loved in him was really myself mirrored back to me. Funny enough, he said that to me once. He said “you don’t really love me, you only love yourself through me.” Of course I tried so hard to PROVE my love, but I think he was right. I had enough empathy and love for both of us. He is devoid of it. Completely.


      • janieleeds says:

        Sabrina, I am sorry that you are having such a terrible time. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge as I know it will help others!


  2. MoJo says:

    You have a tremendous amount of grace. I want to believe that I could behave with dignity and kindness, but I wonder if I would be able to do that right then. I think maybe my hurt would outweight what I knew in my heart at that moment. You are amazing Ms. Leeds. Truly.

    Liked by 1 person

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