Officially Divorced. Happy Occasion or Sad Moment?

officially divorced

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

I got this text recently from a friend of mine: “Well, I’m officially divorced today. I feel strange but a little relieved. I’m good, though. I think I’m going to buy myself something for me that is not practical.”

This girl feels THE EXACT SAME WAY I did when I became officially divorced.

After months (sometimes years) of negotiations, court appearances, hearings, expensive lawyer bills, document disclosures, mediation, and so much other stressful and often negative stuff, you go into court, you stand in front of the judge and he or she officially grants you your divorce.

Is being officially divorced a time to celebrate? Some will say yes. At the time of my divorce, the woman my husband was dating at the time told him they should go out and party. He told me that thought was so weird to him. But, is it a time to sit and cry? Definitely not.


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The feelings I think most people have when their divorce becomes final are very mixed. It’s the official end of what might be your most serious relationship of your life, and the beginning of a new life. So, it’s a time to be happy AND a time to be sad. There aren’t too many other instances in life that carry both of those feelings at the same time. In fact, I can’t think of one.

The night of my divorce, a friend told me we had to go out for a drink. Not to celebrate and not to cry, but to mark it. Just to sit and talk, and to toast to new beginnings. So, that’s what I did.



My friend’s text said she was going to buy herself a gift. I think this is THE BEST idea, and what’s funny is, I did the same thing. I had had my eye on a diamond necklace at my friend, Claudia’s jewelry store for years. When I became officially divorced, I took some of my gold (pieces I knew I’d never wear again) and traded it in for the necklace (although I did still have to pay a little bit of money.)


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I decided that getting divorced is a gift-giving holiday.

Not gifts from others, but to buy a gift for yourself is very warranted. And to this day, every time I wear the necklace, I think back to why I bought it.

Getting divorced is one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through in my life. Tears, fears, anxiety, bitterness, loss, resentment, grief, gut-wrenching sadness and anger are all feelings one faces for months, perhaps years before, during and after a split. It’s exhausting. But having gone through it (and I’d wish it on no one!) I’m stronger, smarter and I appreciate things more than I used to, although that might be part of getting older, as well.


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So, what’s wrong with buying yourself a piece of jewelry as a reward for all your hard work and the crap you had to go through to get to where you are when you finally say, “I do,” on the day of your divorce. Yes,  you heard me correctly. The last words you say when you are getting divorced in front of the judge are “I do.” It is in response to the question, “Do you agree to these terms and conditions of the marital settlement agreement set forth in front of you here today? Please answer, ‘I do’.” Ironic, huh?

Everyone feels different things when their divorce is final. It depends on many circumstances surrounding the situation, including who wanted the divorce, why it didn’t work, and much more.

But one thing is true for everyone. You once stood in front of a priest or a rabbi or a judge with this person, and you promised to love, honor and cherish him or her forever. And now, you’ve broken that promise. And that’s sad. But if the marriage was wrong, then isn’t wonderful that you now get the opportunity to move on and find a better life for yourself? Freedom is a beautiful thing. And that’s certainly something to celebrate.

Like this article? Check out, “15 Self-Confidence Boosters for a Divorced Woman”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    8 Responses to “Officially Divorced. Happy Occasion or Sad Moment?”

    1. AM

      I am recently separated and enjoy reading your blog. Many discussions are about women with children. I am in my late 40’s, married almost 22 years, and no children. It see so few conversations that deal with women who are in a similar position. If people feel alone and have children at home, Imagine the loneliness of realizing you are completely alone in this situation. It seems like none of the blogs address this. I really feel like an outlier. Is that so?

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        Thank you bringing this to my attention. I guess because i have children, I write about what I know. I will certainly address this topic in a blog soon! And no, you are not an outlier. I believe all divorced people have certain feelings that are similar.

    2. Treece

      After a sleepless night with a million what-if’s running through my mind and a belly full of nervous butterflies flapping their hardest I woke as a separated mother with an 11.10am divorce hearing. By 11.20am, I had stood before a judge for the first time in my life, swore the details in our application were correct, confirmed my marriage was over and suddenly I was a divorcee. Wow, I smiled because I had been so worried about that day, seeing my ex accompanied by his partner etc but he failed to show. I walked to a nearby legal bar and shouted myself a huge beer. Didn’t really feel like it but had a weird urge to toast and celebrate my divorce, symbolic I suppose. Felt incredibly strange since then, a weird mix of elation, joy, sadness, loss and hope. I don’t regret my marriage, as I wouldn’t have my children or friends I made. I do however regret that two unsuited people stayed together unnecessarily ‘for the sake of the children’ and just made five people miserable and wasted our lives. I’m looking forward to life ahead but no longer feel marriage is important in my life plan. Finally, I found it curious that the three people I chatted to, while waiting for our divorces, had such different situations. Man 1 had been married 25years, separated 3years and was divorcing to remarry next year. Lady was married 5years, separated 1year and requested a quickie divorce as she was marrying in 7days. Man 2, mid 60’s, had never been married, married overseas lady who changed her mind about migrating and didn’t want to reside with the man but was refusing to sign divorce papers and he was at a loss because he couldn’t afford to go overseas again. Wow!!! What a day my first day as a newly divorced woman has been, I’m now someone’s ex-wife and I have an ex-husband. Life is good, live every moment as you never know how long you have to make memories.

    3. west

      Divorce today! Amd i feel so great for throwing all my chips in on that lying cheating bastered! And he had the nerve to run out of the courthouse yelling and screaming yes and clicking his heels! Yeah ***king rite!

    4. Vaz

      I promised to love, honor and cherish him forever & I didn’t break a promise I would do anything for my life to rewind 4 months & for this to not be happening. I dont understand nor can I believe that this is my life now; that my husband has left me & I’m all alone. We were together for 14 years since we were 16 how could he do this, it just feels like it all meant nothing to him when it meant everything to me. I just don’t know how I’ll ever recover.

    5. leandra

      I’m happy I came along this site, because as of yesterday I signed my divorce papers. So now I can see its normal to feel sad about divorce even after 4 years of being estranged and arguing when did see each other(mostly because I would start to argue out of anger.) I was gun hoe about being divorced, and thought I would be elated, but I really felt complete and utter sadness. I think I did everything you did but backwards, and now I’m dealing with the grief of it. As badly as wanted it I realized that I was holding on to it, and at one point so was he…however I signed the papers with no problem….because I knew there was no way to revive our dead marriage, and he had found someone new. Now I need help finding a new coping mechanism because I’ve lost interest in my hobbies, and after dating for 3 years, and not meeting Mr. Right ( plus I don’t wanna bring too many guys around my children)I’m pretty much alone, and not interested in dating anymore, because its gotten old to me. I have my family, and friends to lean on but I feel a bit lost…plus its kinda hard to have a good support system when they have their own lives to live. so please if there is any other coping mechanisms you can share I’m open to it.

    6. Jeff

      Tomorrow is my final divorce hearing. Male, married 17 years (almost 18) and with the same women for 20. Had we stayed together we would have just finished paying off the mortgage on our home last month! I’m not sure why we are divorcing, just know she doesn’t want to be married anymore. I never cheated. I never yelled. I never hit her. I cooked most dinners for her and my daughter. Cleaned the house. Did my own laundry. Did the lawn work and my fair share of cleaning the house. From my perspective, I was a pretty darn good husband! But, I got fired nonetheless. We didn’t have a lot of passion in the bedroom but I think we could have worked on that. We had a few major differences that bothered one another and I think we could’ve worked on that! In the end, I think ALL of us (my ex, my daughter, and myself) would have been better off to have worked it out. However, instead, we will all have part of something good – when we could have all shared something magnificent. So, tomorrow for me is a sad day filled with too many “what if’s”. Unfortunately, I know too much of what my ex was up to just prior to our separation and during our separation that fixing things now would be very difficult. She was my best friend for 20 years and I feel she will regret her actions in the very near term! She is throwing away a great husband, great father, best friend, and an unbelievably bright financial future – just so she can act like she is in her mid twenties again. Sad, so sad!

      • Tom

        Jeff, Your story sounds exactly like mine except I have a 3,5 and nine year old. I’m at a lot for words myself. its honestly sickening to me but what can you do?


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