CHARLESTON, S.C. - Governor Mark Sanford’s divorce will become final next month, more than a year after his wife discovered his affair with an Argentine woman he later called his soul mate.
Family Court Judge Jocelyn Cate said yesterday that she plans to approve Jenny Sanford’s request to split from her husband of 20 years. The divorce takes effect in mid-March.
Jenny Sanford attended a 20-minute hearing without her husband. Afterward, she said she considers it “the beginning of a new chapter for me and for our children.’’
She filed for divorce in December on the grounds of adultery, saying reconciliation efforts with her husband had been unsuccessful.
“The dissolution of a 20-year marriage is not a cause for celebration,’’ she said yesterday. “It’s a sad occasion.’’
Mark Sanford had told his staff he was going hiking along the Appalachian Trail and disappeared for five days last summer, returning to confess publicly that he had been in Argentina visiting Maria Belen Chapur, his mistress for a year.
Even after the publication of passionate e-mail exchanges between her husband and Chapur, and an Associated Press interview in which Mark Sanford called Chapur his “soul mate’’ and admitted “crossing the line’’ with other women, Jenny Sanford said she was willing to reconcile with the two-term governor. But she said in court yesterday that those efforts did not work.
She said she had learned about the affair in January 2008, when she found a copy of a letter written to Chapur by her husband, once considered a possible 2012 GOP presidential contender. In the months that followed, he asked several times for permission to visit his mistress. She said no.