I thought I’d try something – there doesn’t appear to be a “Dictionary” of divorce – although I’m sure there is one – if anybody wants to point me in the rigth direction? All the terminology and legal jargon that you have to venture into if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to get divorced.
A sort of A-Z of terms. From Alimony to Zip (that’s the term you will be using when everything has been divided up and it’s what you have left).
My experience of divorce was horrendous. I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “Good Divorce” unless you both married for money or a Green card and both parties were completely clear.
My dictionary definition of divorce would be:-
The termination of a marital union that is more painful that having all your toenails ripped out. The legal process of divorce can also involve fighting over children, money, property, pets and possessions. You will lose your mind and more of your soul than you ever thought possible and then one day find it again – purer, cleaner, calmer. One thing you should try never to lose (apart from obviously your children) is your sense of humour. You will understand “if you are going through hell, then keep going” and discover horrendous things about your life partner and amazing things about your friends, your family and yourself.
I would not recommend it to anybody. I would advise trying to work out your marriage. If you can’t then try to be grown-up about as much as possible even though it’s very very difficult to do so. If you have children then try to remember what it is like for them and do the right thing. They don’t want to see their parents arguing and hating each other. They want to see the two people they love being kind and fair and ultimately happy.
I thought I’d try putting a list together with the “Experts”, and by “Experts” I mean those people like you and me who have had to go through this painful process. Or in my case “Ex Pert” or Ex Spurt” would be a better definition.
So. Lets keep it simple. I will do one letter a week. Send in your suggestions for the list. I’ve found more words beginning with “A” than I thought I would but that is probably because it is raining outside and I’m a bit bored.
Of course this list is entirely tongue in cheek and probably not at all helpful. However, if it makes you laugh a little during a difficult time then I will have done my job. I will try and keep it generic, I am quite sure my bitter and twisted victim streak will shine right through. Sorry, can’t be helped. I will put them in proper alphabetical order another day:-
This is the spousal support you hope you are going to get. If you have been the breadwinner, you are going to have to expect to give a lot of your money away. If you have given up your job to look after your children then fingers crossed you partner doesn’t pretend he doesn’t have any money left.
If you both work then the situation is going to be very different.
1. a person who murders someone (for political or religious reasons)
Really? Only for political or religious reasons? This is who you will want to hire when you find out the reason behind your divorce. If you caused the breakdown, then keep looking behind you for the first few months.
However, I do stress that this is not a good idea and you will end up in jail at best. You will also have removed the children’s babysitter when you want to start going out again.
This is better than the above, but only just. If you want to make it look like an accident, you will need to be clever. Ideas on a postcard please.
Good luck with that one – it takes a very long time, if ever.
Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their husband or wife. This is NOT GOOD. You do not want to be an adulterer. It will ultimately make you responsible for an enormous amount of pain and heartache.
1. a colourless volatile flammable liquid which is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, etc.
This becomes very very important. More important than your mother and maybe even your children. Large vats of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc got me through much of the pain – although not when I fell off the curb and sprained my ankle. So does need to be managed.
This is not a word I would relate to Divorce in any way, however, once divorced, you might find (hopefully) that you have burning ambitions to change your life and/or the world). I did. Still do. It’s just taking me a while. Of course I do not mean that anyone would ever put “Getting Divorced” in the list of things you must achieve in life.
Oh dear. Be warned. In most divorces, there is much anger all round. For a time, it can be a good thing, because it can get you through to the next stage. Which is generally searching for the Assassin, before moving swiftly on to some sort of Acceptance.
1. an event of a specified nature. 2. a matter that is a particular person’s concern or responsibility. 3 a love affair
1 & 2 are OK. Number 3 IS NOT OK.
1. examine methodically and in detail for the purposes of explanation or interpretation. 2. psychoanalyse (someone).
If you are female you will do tons of analysis. You will try and go to counselling and also analyse every last drop with your friends, until you basically don’t have any friends left. Then you will analyse with your family because they are family and not allowed to leave you during your time of need. In the end you will have an analyst as they are the only people not allowed to walk away because you have paid them not to leave the room.
1. the anus. 2. a stupid, irritating or contemptible person.
UK/US versions accordingly. They are all around the world – I bet you just weren’t expecting to be married to one of them.
Um, you may get a lot of apologies or have to make them yourself. Make sure you mean them.
I was never very good at “keeping up appearances” I did try, but it nearly killed me. Truth works better for me, but not for everyone.
With your actual appearance don’t be surprised if it changes dramatically – you might lose a ton of weight, which happened to me and was a sort of good thing. However, stress does strange things to bodies so you do need to try and avoid your hair falling out or developing stress related skin diseases.
It’s important though to try and keep on top of your appearance – make sure you put clothes on before going out of the door, that sort of thing.
Elizabeth Taylor says “Pour yourself A drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together”. We like that quote.
1. a heated exchange of conflicting views. 2. a set of reasons given in support of something
you will have lots of these so that it will be called having an “argy-bargy“. Generally goes with the territory I’m afraid. Very exhausting and utterly pointless as both start digging their heels in and standing their ground. Very bad if you have children and they’re loud. To basically be avoided at all costs if possible. If not. Go to the pub or a restaurant. Argue there. It’s way more fun for all the staff and means you keep your voice down a little (although I did have my moments).
ASSAULT AND BATTERY
the action of threatening a person together with making physical contact with them
a course providing a series of physical challenges, used for training soldiers and unsuspecting divorcees.
1. state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully. 2. cause others to recognise one’s authority or a right by confident and forceful behaviour.
This will take time, but eventually you will learn how to do it (comes after the angry stage) and you will be pleasantly surprised when you understand what the difference is between right and wrong.
1. the practice of taking over a company in financial difficulties and selling each of it’s assets at a profit 2. the practice of getting divorced and employing lawyers to settle agreements.
I find it helps to have a lot of this. Especially a positive attitude and every time you lose it – go and see your friends or think about your children
1. give up completely. 2. desert or leave permanently 3 indulge in a desire or impulse without restraint
abandoned – left completely or want to wild uninhibited dancing
You will feel all of these definitions at varying points.
a country’s army, navy and air force
If it gets really bad you might need their help.
1. a plant of the daisy family used medicinally for the treatment of bruises.
You might need this – or they will.
payments or debts that are outstanding and due
Get used to it.
Athlete (the band, not the foot) got me through my mournful bits. Other’s might find that dancing to a spot of ABBA in the kitchen is helpful. Whatever floats your boat. Music is good. It soothes a battered soul (not sole – fish or foot).
You will stare into this a lot and it will stare straight back. Black times. For sure.
The magic wand you will wish you had to make it all better again. Especially if you have children.
1. shock or greatly surprised.
You will feel a great deal of shock about what is happening to you but you will also be greatly surprised by who steps up to help you out.
1.a high protein, high fat diet in which carbohydrates are severely restricted.
You will not need this diet, or any other one for that matter (anyway it gives you bad breath). I only mentioned athletics because you will not need to do this either. You will need to conserve energy and maybe do gentle, regular exercise like walk to the pub to analyse with some friends.
Don’t go there
If you have kids – try not to let them absorb to much of your stuff. They will take on board a lot more than you will give them credit for and know a lot more than you think they do too. So don’t keep them in the dark.
This is a strong word. It’s either the reason for getting out of your marriage or what you can become whilst getting out of it. To be avoided.
This becomes a nightmare with reference to children – what access you can have and when. They can become weapons of mass destruction in our sad little war as we fight over them and use them in battle.
If you don’t want to move, don’t get divorced. Your accommodation is very likely to get smaller and smaller – that’s if you’re lucky enough to have some equity in property. Otherwise, it’s a friends floor or back to your parents.
If you have an accountant, sack them now. There will be no money left to account and you’re going to have to give it all to the lawyers – who make very good accountants when required.
the chemical element of atomic number 33, with many highly poisonous and deadly properties
Again, best to avoid, though tempting.
the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property,
Again, best to avoid though tempting.
1. seize someone by legal authority and take them into custody
To be avoided if at all possible – even if running them over, giving away all their money or their clothes seems like a good idea at the time.
1 (of a person’s face) very pale with shock, fear or illness
This is the colour you will be for about two years.
1. horrifyingly wicked. 2. Extremely bad or unpleasant.
This is what you will say if you are being honest when people in the street say “how are you?”
a small, flat briefcase for carrying documents. By the end your lawyer will have filled eight of these, each paid for by you (in crocodile/snake skin varieties – possibly Mulberry or Ralph Lauren)
If you’re the sort of person who likes acquiring money or material things then whatever you do don’t get divorced. You will be miserable about the amount of money you had to give away for the whole of your life. OR just imagine that you gave it to a charity of your choice and try and feel better about it, rather than visualise yourself hosing all your money away down the street.
Bitterness or ill feeling; an acrimonious dispute – get used to it – this is the definition of divorce
1. The process of doing something to achieve an aim. 2. A thing done, an act. 3. armed conflict. 4. a law-suit or legal proceedings
Again all highly relevant.
There is none.
You may find that you give this out to all the wrong people when you are getting divorced. Try not to. Especially if you have children.
1. guidance or recommendations offered with regard to future action.
Take lots of this from as many people as possible. You might as well – they’re going to give it to you anyway. When you’re all adviced out – go and sit on the top of a mountain by yourself and work it all out. Ultimately listen to your heart and your head and make a plan.
A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation and used as evidence in court. I don’t know why it’s such a stupid word.
Not unless you are very very rich will you feel affluent after divorce.
This is a word you will come to like – used as a prefix in front of housing, clothing, holidays (wine exempt – spend as much as you can afford on that).
Put in because you will need to get used to the fact that lawyers use stupid words like this – unnecessary and just say “previously mentioned”
Where you should think about going if you’re very very cross. Take what possessions you have left, go and dig a well and get some perspective.
a cause of pain or harm. The state of being in pain. This is a very appropriate description and perhaps should be the new word for Divorce.
1.the consequences of a significant and typically unpleasant event.
There is lots of “aftermath” to be had.
Your age massively effects how you will feel about your divorce, naturally. The older you are the more difficult it becomes to extract yourself from your marriage. You will also look a decade older after the experience. Sorry, but it’s true.
You will need one or three.
This is another ridiculous legal term that lawyers have come up with; 1. a negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement. 2. harmony in opinion or feeling.
When having to sign an agreement during divorce proceedings this is rarely a harmonious event. One person is usually spitting chips (or blood).
a place filled with a great number of interesting or precious items
This was your house. Once you are divorced, it is more empty cave.
1. A very large seabird with long, narrow wings found chiefly in the southern oceans. 2. a burden or encumbrance 3. A double eagle in golf
WELL DONE – you guessed which one refers to divorce
1 a book for the insertion of photographs, stamps or pictures. 2. a collections of recordings issued as a single item.
Both of these become part of the battle zone. They are hugely personal and lots of care, attention and time has gone into the making of them and one person is going to want them more than the other. These are the sad bargaining tools we begin to use.
1.Unfamiliar and distasteful. 2 relating to or denoting beings from other worlds. 3 a being from another world.
Your partner will become all these things to you.
a claim that someone has done something wrong, typically an unfounded one.
This word is likely to come up time and time again with lawyers…”my client alleges” (claims that someone has done something wrong, typically without proof)
a damaging immune response by the body to a substance (or person) to which it has become hypersensitive
a vehicle equipped for taking sick or injured people to and from hospital.
Hopefully not required.
(also amuck) adv. (in phr. run amok) behave uncontrollably and disruptively.
This phase usually lasts about five years.
adj. showing or feeling sexual desire.
It is quite unlikely that you will have feelings of sexual desire towards your partner at this stage. Somebody else perhaps, but not them.
a cold-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that comprises the frogs and toads.
1. a state of disorder due to absence or non recognition of government or other controlling systems.
Basically this becomes your new world order.
a strong feeling of general anxiety or dread.
You will have a lot of this.
severe mental or physical pain or suffering. v. be very distressed.
1. destroy utterly. defeat utterly
This is what you can’t believe has happened to your happy marriage union.
the date on which you got married – it will make you sad.
declare (a law or contract, especially that of marriage) invalid.
1. a person who actively opposes or is hostile towards someone or something
disappointing end to an exciting series of events
An entirely inappropriate word (but good description) of the state of your marriage.
A feeling of being anxious. A nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness. Experiencing worry and anxiousness.
an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
Doesn’t say anything about having to actually eat the food – an after-atif is a good thing too.
1. an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale
1. an angel of high rank
Your friends and family basically.
a collection of historical documents or records.
You will be the proud owner of an archive by the time the lawyers have finished with you and your divorce is finalised
ATTACK1. take aggressive action against. 2. criticise or oppose fiercely and publicly. 3. begin to deal with a problem or a task in a determined way. 4(in sport) make a forceful attempt to score goals or points 5. an instance of attacking, destructive action 6. a sudden short bout of an illness or a disorder.
All of the above I’d say. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that we replace the word “Divorce” with “Attack”. “I want an Attack”, “we’re getting Attacked”, “I’m Attacked”…..you get the picture.
OK enough already – your turn? Any others to add?? Leave me other letters if you want – I’ll add when I get there! This is going to be fun.