Going From Mrs2Me and The Grey Divorce Phenomenon

  January 9, 2019
The Grey Divorce is now a phenomenon. Divorce among older adults is on the increase. Why is that? With the #metoo movement and the daily women empowerment speeches, I can’t help but wonder why women must justify just wanting to be happy, loved and financially independent. I am an Irish Catholic girl who was raised by parents who grew up in Queens NY. My parents got married when they were 19 and then had five children.

My father worked by day and attended night school to later become a successful CPA. He always credited my mom for having the hardest job of raising five children, cooking, running the household and taking care of him. He instilled in my three sisters and myself, “never be dependent on a man.” and, “always be able to take care of yourself.”

My dad was a great provider and a great man who I loved dearly. He often told me that if my mom was educated with a college degree she would have left him. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but he never wanted his daughters to feel like they had to stay with a man because they felt they had no other option. He didn’t necessarily believe in divorce, and in those days, you didn’t talk about family problems with anyone outside the walls of your home.
Imagine his thoughts when I introduced him to the man I married back in 1992. A man divorced with three children under the age of 5! I was the daughter who received her accounting degree and who was most like him

Dad was not happy…

I remember him saying, “Catherine, he will never love you the way you want to be loved. Promise me, you will always believe that you can take care of yourself and you ever need a man to take of you.” I assured him, “Dad, I know. If the worst thing that ever happens to me is that I marry someone who is divorced with three little girls, then I’m pretty lucky.”

11 years ago, unexpectedly, my dad passed away. Tearing up as I write this, I recall his words of wisdom. I am thankful for the day he told me that he was so proud of the way I handled myself as a stepmom. He told me he doesn’t know anyone else who could have done what I have done. Today, as a divorcee, I am sure he is my red cardinal that shows up on my back porch, proud that I am independent, and that I chose a difficult divorce route in order to be happy.
grey divorce phenomenon

I had never heard of the Grey Divorce back in 2012 when I got divorced. I just knew that I would rather be single and lonely than married and lonely. I also knew that I was a smart, educated woman who loved her family and would always love her family first, but didn’t love fighting with her husband and didn’t love the isolation I felt daily.

Vowing to create a safe space where women can go – without judgment – to get the information and advocacy they need through the process of divorce, my business partner, Karen Chellew, and I founded My Divorce Solutions.

I wanted to show my daughter and step daughters that my dad was correct; independence for women is our right. I wanted to teach my son the value of an independent woman who should always be respected as he should always be respected. Karen and I wanted to establish a community where divorce is treated in a way that eases the stress of the process and was less costly in terms of both time and money.

We advise women all the time that you do not have to justify why you want a divorce. You do not have to feel guilty for wanting to live a peaceful life. You do not have to live a life without purpose. However, you must understand what your current financial portrait looks like. You must understand what your current lifestyle analysis looks like as a married person, and what it could like post-divorce.

As Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, we ensure everyone has clarity on the financial ramification of divorce. Our Legal Liaison services ensure that everyone has an advocate when working for their divorce team. Marriage is a beautiful union, one that I will gladly enter again. But being unhappily married should not be how you live this one life you are given.

At My Divorce Solutions, we receive a lot of positive feedback from women, and men, who have gone through our process:
  • A female executive, married 30 plus years, just wanted a divorce, a healthier happy life. Yes, she felt guilty, although her children were grown. What would they think of her? When she finally told them of her plan to divorce their dad, to her surprise, here is what her son said. “Mom, the only thing worse for you than leaving would be if you stayed.” Kids do not want to see their parents unhappily married.
  • We met with a woman had been married 28 years. Her husband had been having an affair, but she was too afraid that she didn’t have any money and that all the money was his. After all, he was the doctor. After clarifying marital and non-marital assets and answering her questions thoroughly, she replied, “God doesn’t have feet or hands on the ground, but he has women like you to help women like me.”
  • Another woman left saying, “Your help has me at a point in my life where I am feeling so blessed for my freedom! I am unwinding one day at a time. Thank you for taking each step with me.”

To all the parents out there, raise your daughters to be independent so that we won’t need to have #metoo movements, and marriage will be out of love and respect, not because you are dependent on another. Raise your sons to give respect and expect respect.

Our movement is meant to teach married and divorcing couples to value the relationships involved so that everyone can move forward in a positive direction.

Instead of calling it the Grey Divorce, I believe it’s a divorce phenomenon just wanting to go from being Mrs2Me!

Catherine Shanahan is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst at My Divorce Solution who partners with Karen Chellew, LL. My Divorce Solution is committed to helping divorcing couples develop a transparent plan via a three-phase process to optimize the outcome of their divorce. Phase 1 is the development of the financial portrait.

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