Divorcing with Dollars and Sense: Getting Financial Clarity with My Divorce Solution

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Episode Description

Understanding and navigating the financial end of divorce is one of the biggest challenges many divorcing couples face. That’s especially true for those who DIDN’T handle the family finances during their marriage.

Karen Chellew and Catherine Shanahan know firsthand the financial chaos divorce can cause. That’s why they created “My Divorce Solution,” a program designed to help people going through a divorce by providing them with a comprehensive analysis of their income, expenses, assets, and debts.

My Divorce Solution creates a customized financial portrait of each client’s financial situation. That financial portrait lays out different asset division scenarios that can be used in mediation, litigation, or other divorce proceedings.

Whether you're the breadwinner or the non-financial spouse, your customized financial portrait equips you with the financial clarity you need to advocate for yourself with confidence.

Show Notes

About Catherine, Karen and My Divorce Solution

At My Divorce Solution, we empower individuals navigating the complexities of divorce with the tools and insights necessary to safeguard their assets and secure their financial future. Our innovative approach, the Divorce Financial Portrait™, offers a tailor-made financial plan that demystifies the financial implications of divorce. Through our unique methodology, we ensure that our clients are well-informed and prepared to make sound financial decisions, granting them peace of mind and a path to financial stability post-divorce.

Connect with Catherine & Karen

You can connect with Karen & Catherine on LinkedIn at My Divorce Solution or on Facebook at My Divorce Solution.  You can follow them on YouTube at We Chat Divorce by My Divorce Solution and on Instagram at My Divorce Solution. To find out how to work with Karen & Catherine visit their website at My Divorce Solution.

Don’t miss the upcoming summit The Power of Me, live in Denver, CO, April 27.

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Catherine and Karen

Catherine and Karen are the creators of My Divorce Solution, a company that provides financial preparation services for divorcing couples.

  • My Divorce Solution provides a 10-step process to help divorcing clients gather, verify and understand their full financial situation through a "Divorce Financial Portrait" report.
  • This report acts as a blueprint for clients to take to attorneys, mediators, or other professionals, having all the financial data organized and verified upfront.
  • This upfront financial preparation:
    • Saves significant time, money and stress later in the divorce process
    •    Ensures clients truly understand their finances and can make informed decisions
    •    Allows clients to be their own best advocates
    •     Prevents surprises or agreeing to settlements without realizing the implications
  • Their services are valuable for clients of any income level, helping them gain clarity on their finances, know what they have/don't have, and make informed decisions through the divorce process while potentially saving significant legal fees.
  • Having comprehensive financial data compiled upfront streamlines the divorce process for attorneys and mediators who often spend inordinate time chasing documents.
  • Knowledge and understanding of one's finances is power in being able to negotiate a fair divorce settlement.
  • Even if one spouse was not involved in finances during the marriage, My Divorce Solution's process helps uncover assets/liabilities and educates them on their full financial picture.

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Divorcing with Dollars and Sense:  Getting Financial Clarity with My Divorce Solution


financial, streamlines, fair settlement, educate


Karen Covy, Karen Chellew, Catherine Shanahan

Karen Covy Host00:10

Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision-making so we can discover what keeps us stuck and, more importantly, how we can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. I'm your host, Karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And now, without further ado, let's get on with the show.

With me. Today. I am so excited to have not one, but two guests. They are Catherine Shanahan and Karen Chellew. Together, they are the creators of My Divorce Solution and they support divorcing couples in effectively managing the division of their marital estate. Karen and Catherine empower individuals navigating the complexities of divorce with the tools and insights necessary to safeguard their assets and secure their financial future. Their Divorce Financial Portrait offers a tailor-made financial plan that demystifies the financial implications of divorce. Unique methodology, they ensure that their clients are well-informed and prepared to make sound financial decisions, granting them peace of mind and a path to financial stability post-divorce.


Karen and Catherine, welcome to the show. I am so excited to have both of you here, and I'd like to start with a little bit of backstory. Right, I don't know who wants to go first, but I'm just curious. What's your story? How did you get into this area? What made you create my Divorce Solution and the we Chat Divorce podcast  where you want to start.

Catherine Shanahan Guest01:58

Well, thank you for asking because we do have some personal connection, not only our professional backgrounds but our personal backgrounds, and we're happy to share that because people want to know that they can get through it too right. So I got divorced 12 years ago after a 23-year relationship. I have an accounting degree, I'm financially comfortable, I have a comfortable money story I'm not nervous about that. But when I went through my divorce a comfortable money story, I'm not nervous about that. But when I went through my divorce I was really nervous and although I had the financial security of understanding what the impact was to my decision, I didn't realize the document that needed to really support that and making sure that the attorney drew that up properly so that I didn't end up back in court. But when I was going through the process I thought if I'm scared financially, there's got to be millions of people out there scared.


And so I knew Karen. She had a non-for-profit organization that I spoke at for a few times about financial topics and I reached out to her because she had a skill set I did not have working at a law firm and I said it's more than the financial piece. There's another part to this process that's really scary and nobody's in the know. So she agreed and after some persuasion I got her to come aboard with me to create my divorce solution and I'll let you tell her tell a little bit about her backstory as well.

Karen Chellew Guest03:23

Yes. So I too went through my own divorce. I had been married 10 years, had two small children at the time and had, you know, 10 years experience in a law firm as a paralegal. So I felt pretty comfortable moving forward, even though it was an, you know, emotional overwhelmment. But little did I know that I needed that support of financial clarity, which I did not have at all. I did the family finances. I knew all about our finances but I did not know how they translated through the divorce process.


So fast forward to a year after my divorce, when I got a letter in the mail that I was being sued as vice president of my husband's company, my name had never been removed and I was the only officer. I was president and vice president actually. So I had to fight that battle too, and it wasn't intentional on my husband's or my ex-husband's part. It was something that got missed because we didn't go through the financial clarity, we didn't build out our financial portrait, we just got divorced and the attorneys told us what to do and we did it. So when Catherine approached me, it didn't take it only took persuasion to get me out of my comfort zone of a 30-year career job in a law firm. But beyond that, it was easy for me to know that people, families, divorcing needed much more support from both sides of financial. Well, I say three sides. More support from both sides of financial. Well, I say three sides financial, emotional, but you do, Karen and legal help to get you a really sound divorce and path moving forward. And so My Divorce Solution was created.

Karen Covy Host05:29

Wow, that is. That's quite a story and a really good word of warning for people going through that divorce. I often say to people divorce is not rocket science. However, there's a lot to it, a lot of moving parts, and if you miss something like what happened in your divorce, you can be in a world of hurt later on, and the challenge is you don't know that in the moment. You just discover it a year later when you're sued. So that's really kind of eye-opening for anyone that's listening.

Catherine Shanahan Guest05:58

it really is. And going through this process you have to get prepared, of course, working with you to handle the emotions, but as you're doing that, getting financially prepared really allows you to be in a space where you know what the best pathway is for you forward. You know, Karen and I were two women who took on an industry that at that time, 12 years ago, was really run by men. It was, you know, so archaic the system and you know we had to push back a lot to develop this process because we know it's better for the families. It saves them so much money in legal fees, the overall costs, and it allows them the space to have a coach because we help them with their income and expenses so we see where they need to budget things right. And getting the opportunity to go through the emotional part of the financial and being in that know is so rewarding in so many levels. So if I didn't have her I wouldn't have been able to do it, because it is both sides of it right and I know she wouldn't do it without me.


And if she's not going to say that, I'll say it for her, but we developed a process that is no longer about her and I. It's about a really good process that a whole NDS team helps you get through so that you make smart decisions.

Karen Covy Host07:16

So let's talk about that process. What is it and how does it work?

Karen Chellew Guest07:23

So it's a 10-step process that takes you through the entire financial preparation for divorce. So a lot of times when people are beginning the divorce process right, they get handed their financial disclosure fill it out, we're filing suit papers and we're all moving forward right, you'll have a temporary hearing maybe, or whatever the next steps are. Our preparation process is way before that. This 10-step process takes you through a full, comprehensive understanding of your income and expense, identifying what is marital and separate property or community and separate property, and then building out the supporting documents, to the extent you have those, if your spouse may or may not participate. But at the end you understand what you have, you understand what you don't have, you understand what those documents mean. You know, just back to when I was telling my story, a lot of times people don't know how to support what they have, what they think they have and what they think they own sometimes really isn't the truth, and so when you combine the legal requirements with the financial analysis, it gets you way farther down the road.


You know, so often we'll have people who say, well, I think I'm on the deed of the home and come to find out when the deed is produced, whether we pull it down or they provide it to us. They and two other people maybe parents or you know own the property. That's even a more extensive conversation, and sometimes those things never even get rebuilt in the divorce process as part of financial discovery. So we really go through that with a fine tooth comb. So people understand it and they're a part of the process. They're educated in that knowledge so they know what they have, they know what they don't have, they know what it means to them, they know the financial impact and then they know there's a table of considerations that's delivered in that final portrait that says based on your financial blueprint, these are all the things that you need to negotiate and these are the people who can help you.

Karen Covy Host09:42

That's beautiful, and I want to talk about the financial blueprint, but before I do, I want to pick up on something that you said, Karen. You said you know that your process starts long before the financial affidavits are required in court. Well, what would you say to somebody who says I'm already in court, my lawyer's already asking for this, is it too late for me? What would you say?

Karen Chellew Guest10:08

We say it's never too late If you have an attorney involved already. One of the first steps we do is we get on the phone with your attorney to have a conversation about why you need to pause, to the extent possible, to mending that financial affidavit if needed. Most of the time it needs to be amended for a variety of reasons, because people just put down numbers, they don't understand the impact of those numbers, and so we talk with the attorney about how we can provide an amended financial declaration disclosure, whatever it is called in your state.

Karen Covy Host10:55

So, if I understand, ladies, your system, your program, works in every state.

Catherine Shanahan Guest11:01

Every state, and we're actually in three different countries. We're in Canada, Spain and England, and we may even be in Switzerland now too.

Catherine Shanahan Guest11:14

Australia as well.

Karen Covy Host11:17

Yeah, I was thinking of the big English-speaking countries and Australia you know, definitely came to mind, but this is awesome. You mentioned a financial portrait. What is that and how does it work?

Catherine Shanahan Guest11:32

Well, that is the deliverable to our divorce preparation platform. So that is that report that Karen spoke briefly about. That will deliver a summary of your state who participated with us, because even if you're the client, we can invite your spouse to participate. We're not attorneys, we don't file anything legally, so we provide a space where both people can give their financial input if they want to. So we'll have your income and expenses, your state affidavit, if you have one. Then we'll do the property statement marital and separate property statement. We'll do division scenarios, so you might have wife's proposed division, we might have A, b and C scenarios. This way you're ready for mediation or litigation.


Or some couples come on together and they have an agreed division scenario. So we'll do a report for that, for their attorneys to work through or their mediator to work through, so they get pretty far down the process with us. And then we have a table of considerations which is you know, if you're keeping the home, here's five things you need to consider. And here's somebody that you should go talk to, not a person directly, but a resource, like a mortgage lender or a realtor or what have you. And then we have all their documents and inventory of all their documents, so they're digitalized, so they get to go to any other professional that they need. I think that's pretty much the whole portrait, Karen, I don't know that I've left anything out, but that is our divorce financial portrait, what can act as your blueprint to move on forward with any other professionals that you need.

Karen Covy Host13:02

So this sounds like it would be quite like you're not a substitute for an attorney or a coach, you are strictly dealing with the financial side of divorce and you provide a package that the client can take to a lawyer, to a mediator, to anyone else. Am I getting it right?

Karen Chellew Guest13:22

Exactly, that's so true, or a forensic, or a realtor or a mortgage advisor.

Catherine Shanahan Guest13:29

Or a financial planner, post-divorce, because we don't have any stake in the game here, right? But you don't need to go to those other professionals until you have everything gathered and that you know what you're considering here. You know, we see so many people that are told to hire a forensic Well, for what? And then you're handing all the same information and so we don't say that you don't need one, but we ask the question what are you hiring one for? Right? So sometimes it's just bookkeeping things that they're hiring a forensic for.


So we say, when you go through our process, there'll be the red flags along the way that you know that you need to speak to your attorney, your mediator, even your coach. You know, when you have your clients, Karen, coming to you, sometimes they have a spending problem. So if you were handed their income and expenses with footnotes on what's happening, you get to just zero in on the data there and say let's talk about why you spent this last month. What happened, right, or that goes. You know, we have people that say this goes for all professionals. We have people who say you know, this was my premarital asset.


Okay, we don't argue with that, we just say, okay, well, this is the documentation. We need to verify that, and so often some people don't have the documentation. But we don't challenge that, we just put a note in there for the next professional Husband asserts this is separate property, requested the X, y and Z and has not been provided. So now the mediator or the attorney can say okay, we see that you didn't hand this in, why right, so it's no longer are we challenging people with their financial information and we're making this an exercise. And because we're a data verified company, then the next professionals get to just do what they're trained to do, which is the beauty of the whole process.

Karen Covy Host15:11

That is a beautiful thing. I can tell you as somebody who's been on the other side as a lawyer and a mediator and you're chasing documents. I mean. What people don't realize is that chase takes an enormous amount of time and costs a lot of money. Because, as a lawyer, if you're representing somebody in court, in a court process, and you say you've got to go in front of the judge every X number of weeks or months and say, judge, this is what's happening in the case and the worst position to be in is say I asked my client for the documentation, they're working on it. They're working on it. We need more time, judge, we need a continuance, and that's what you know.


People get upset with lawyers, but a lot of times that's what the problem is the lack of data, the lack of financial information, and you know you mentioned something about helping clients put together the financial information into an affidavit. And for anyone listening who doesn't know, pretty much every jurisdiction, every state, is going to require you to fill out some kind of financial affidavit. It may have a different name, it's going to have a different format depending on where you're at, but essentially, it's your money statement, right? Do you actually help people compile that document, the exact one that they need, or do they take what you provided and then they have to fill that out themselves?

Karen Chellew Guest16:39

We actually provide the document. Sometimes I have counsel that you know how attorneys are. Sometimes no, what do you mean? They want to do it themselves, are?

Karen Covy Host16:53

What do you mean?

Karen Chellew Guest16:54

They want to do it themselves Word document, even though there's an automated process, and that's okay. If they just want the data, we'll give them the data.

Obviously, we don't have an agenda but to the extent the attorney engages with us, we give them as much of a completed product as possible because obviously no one wants to spend money twice. I have to say 80% of the attorneys maybe a little bit higher are wide open to their clients coming to the table with a completed documents. Because when we have a conversation with the attorney, we do ask what is your style, what are the things you look for, so that we're very responsive to how they want to produce that document to the court. Sometimes we will give it to them in an amendable form. But yes, we absolutely do. And you know most states also require supporting documents, at least on the initial disclosure, which we help the client get together as well. These types of documents are very daunting for a client because they're in the beginning of the process, when everything is overwhelming, intimidating. So you know our ability to help them get this together and delivered gets them really far down the road in understanding the process and being able to more effectively engage in the process.

Karen Covy Host18:17

Okay, I just got to jump in here and say to anyone listening or watching this is huge. I mean so many people. You look at this financial affidavit and if you've never seen one of these, this is not like a one pager, right? This is pages and pages of detailed financial information and, Karen, to your point, people get it and they're like deer in the headlights, even if they know their financial information. This is worse than doing your taxes. Okay, it's just.


It's because the amount of information you need often goes back a year, two years, three years. You need all the supporting stuff and people don't know how to do it, because some of those questions that are on there aren't clear. It's like, well, how do I figure out this? Or what do I do about that? Or this is you know. It just doesn't make sense to a lot of people. And so what do they do? They have to go to a lawyer and say what does this mean? How do I do that? How do I do this? It takes the lawyer's time. This is basic data input, right, and you don't need a law degree to put the numbers together. You need the law degree to interpret it, use it in court, do all those things. But this is a tremendous service not just to the clients but to the lawyers as well, I think.

Karen Chellew Guest19:38

That's so true and you know we do. Some law firms will say well, we do that, why are you hiring another service to do that right? So what clients don't understand is yes, a law firm may do that, but typically when I've added up the dollars because I look at the client bills when they come through, they easily spend between $5,000 and $10,000 getting that affidavit completed because it has to go through the paralegal and it goes to the attorney, back to the client. You know on the hamster wheel. Back to the client, you know on the hamster wheel.


But also our work in that space is really ancillary to the real value of the financial portrait. It's just a document we produce for the attorney to provide to the court as an obligation or a requirement. We don't use that document because it's all in legal jargon. We use the financial statements because that's what our clients are going to use. The divorce financial specialist does apply the analysis. You get all of these very comprehensive reports based on what your goals are and those division scenarios are responsive to that. So that's where our work is done. The spitting out of the financial affidavit really is just something that is a byproduct. So I just want to clear that up, because there's a lot of misunderstanding that that's what we do. We prepare the financial affidavit Well, we do, and we save you a lot of money in that space. But the real value is the knowing part of it. You know what you have and you know the financial impact of any of your goals and objectives.

Karen Covy Host21:20

That's brilliant. But I want to focus in on that knowing because, especially for the spouse, because typically in a marriage you divide and conquer, right, there's a division of labor. One spouse usually does the bills, knows the finances, all the things, and the other one does something else. Right, it doesn't always happen that way, but I'd say probably 80% of the time that's how things break out. Well, if you're the spouse who isn't familiar with how the finances of your family work, what resources do you provide them? Okay, so they come to you, they get all the information together. How do you help them get to that? Knowing to understand this is what it all means, because just numbers on a page, that's not really helpful. But understanding what those numbers mean, that's where the real power is. So how do you work with clients to do that? If they're the person that's like I don't know how the finances work, I don't know about money, what would you say to that?

Catherine Shanahan Guest22:19

Well, before we go through any number, we verify it first. So our divorce financial specialist will analyze all the documents with the numbers that are provided by sometimes, the ex-spouse who wants to provide an Excel spreadsheet, right? So anything that's verified that we can verify, we do. Anything that we can't verify, we'll put a note or a list together of what's not verified, so that information has to come in at some point. If the other spouse doesn't provide it, we'll have to come through mediation or through the legal process. But, more importantly, when those numbers come in, our clients know what data is missing, what data we have and what decisions they need to make, because we'll go through everything, from starting from the real estate all the way down. So they're clear on a division scenario one, two or different scenarios of all the information that we have. And then they're clear on what decisions they've been making without the data verified. And then they're clear on what information they want to wait for because they can't make a decision. But then they give the list to their next professional who can now zero in on what's missing, right? So they're not going down all these different rabbit holes, because they're clear on what they have and what they don't.


And some people especially our higher complex cases or people who are of wealth, you know, they just want a monthly income to live on. So do they need to go get all these business valuations? Do they need to go do this? If they're getting a guaranteed income for the rest of their lives you know clear then that's a decision they make. So it's really interesting to see the information that comes in, and a lot of people know more than they think they know because they can recall what's been happening in their lives. So we uncovered different companies where 401ks have been left behind, and I really give credit to those women in particular and there are a lot of men too, but women in particular who took the role of stay-at-home mom or working mom but took care of the kids. Mostly, when they retell their stories, the amount of information, the list that we put together, is pretty big, and then they feel really good about themselves. They no longer have some guilt or shame that they often come in with at first.

Karen Chellew Guest24:30

Yeah, and they have. You know, so many people think they don't have the documents or they don't have the information Hands down. So everybody has access to more information and documentation than they think they have. It's just the knowing right, it's just understanding and helping people get the information and how to get it and where to get it.

Karen Covy Host24:54

Yeah, that that's so important. But, Catherine, I want to focus in on something that you said. You said you're higher in higher income clients, more complex financial situations. Who does My Divorce Solution work for? I mean, does it matter how much money you have or don't have? Does it work for low-income people and high-income people and everybody in the middle? Who is this program for?

Catherine Shanahan Guest25:20

Yeah. So our assessment does. We're a flat fee and it's based on the complexity of your case. Our fees go from anywhere from $4,500 and up, and that's for one party, so both parties can participate. So either parties can participate. So either you're coming in as a client and we invite your spouse to participate possibly, or you're coming in together and you're working on it together.


A lot of couples know they want to go to mediation, but mediation will go much smoother and quicker if you have financial clarity first, because the mediator is going to hand you 80 page document also to fill out. So once they come through our process, then they can go to mediation. So basically, I would say we can't. I don't personally. I'm going to just make this comment. I don't think anyone going through divorce to ever go through the process without MDS because you have to gather this information. If you own a house and have one credit card, there's some things to consider, right, and you're going to pay two attorneys to gather that information, not assess it, but just ask you what you want and you're not going to be able to answer. And the more unclear you are, the more costly your case is going to be. So by coming throughout process, you're going to have all those answers.

Karen Covy Host26:35

That's a beautiful thing, because they say that knowledge is power, and I believe that to a certain extent, but you also go the extra mile, which is knowing what to do with that knowledge. That's actually where the real power is, because you can have data but, to both of your points, not understand what you have not really know. You've got as much as you do it's you've got to get the data in a usable form and then understand how to use it in order to make this as beneficial for you and the divorce as possible. Am I getting that right?

Catherine Shanahan Guest27:15

Absolutely. So many people get spreadsheets or they get attorney emails back and forth and they want us to see what a proposal is out there. But it's like these emails going back and forth, or it's an Excel sheet that somebody prepared but none of the numbers have been verified. So we're going off of oh, it looks so good, and husband put this together because he's so smart which he probably is and he knows the numbers, but where's the verification of that? You know? So. So our process, and it lays it out a little bit differently than just the. Well, we obviously don't do an Excel spreadsheet, but it's very different and very useful when you have to make really tough decisions.

Karen Covy Host27:55

Oh yeah, hey, a spreadsheet isn't bad. I mean most lawyers. When you start talking about spreadsheets they get nervous and they break out in hives because what they do is they use. They're used to working with words, so their proposals are put together in words with the numbers on the side, but you can't. It becomes very hard to visually compare one proposal with another when all you're working with is a Word document. At least a spreadsheet is one step above that, where you can see all the numbers and columns, add them up, subtract, divide, do the things and then you have a better sense of what's really happening. But it sounds like your divorce financial solution. It provides a report that's even more usable than that.

Catherine Shanahan Guest28:51

Let me give you an example of someone that was just going to mediation and actually the male was our client and I think he called Karen and said, oh, it went really well. And we said, OK, well. So we're going to pivot a little bit here, because financial clarity comes in a lot of different formats. Before you sign off on anything, let's take that and put it into the portrait framework. And so we took the agreement and then we had a review with him and assessed it with whatever data we had, whatever documents we had to verify anything and what we couldn't verify, and got on a call with him and if he would have signed that agreement, he would have signed off on her receiving over $500,000 more than he received. And he couldn't believe it.


And his uncle was on the call with him and the uncle said I knew it, I knew it, I knew this didn't seem right. And then, when we put it into that format, he was like, oh my gosh, you know, thank God, because all the words were so confusing and what he was taking in mediation was that his wife was being nice to him and she's usually not nice to him and she wasn't being as bossy, so she was happy. So this must be good. And I want to be generous. Well, did you? My question was do you want to be this generous? And he said no, like I didn't realize that impact of that, and so he didn't sign it. We had to backtrack a little bit and then get him his full portrait so now he can make, you know, some other decisions, and of course he's not happy now.

Karen Covy Host30:11

But you know you have to deal with what is right and, of course, she's not happy if she didn't get the advantage that she thought she was getting. But this is, you know, this is so interesting that you bring it up because I have an online mediation preparation program for people, right so? And it sounds like it's a perfect compliment to what you provide in the financial part. But people don't understand what mediation is, how it works or how they can get through it and make a deal that six months later they're not looking at going. Oh, why did I do that? Right, and it's about putting together the right pieces. People don't understand that in mediation, yeah, there's a mediator there, but they still need your financial information or you can't mediate.

Catherine Shanahan Guest31:02

What you don't know exists, you know how do you do that? How many times do we say that when clients say oh my gosh, we're going to mediation next week and we're like what? We don't even have all your documentation. What are you mediating?

Karen Chellew Guest31:17

Or we're going to go to mediation instead. Yeah, ok.

Karen Covy Host31:29

That's because you know a mediator, and I can say this because I am a mediator. I've been a mediator for decades. Right, we're not God. Right, we don't have the magic wand that I can wave over you and make all of the information with the supporting documentation just magically show up. Either you, as a client, provide that to a mediator and to your lawyer, or you don't. And sure, there's through the legal system. If you go through the court system, you can send subpoenas and production requests and this, that and the other thing. However, you have to do the work to get the documents some way and if you don't know what exists like lawyers, don't know where to look. Do you know how many credit card companies and banks there are in the United States alone? What are you going to send a subpoena to every single one? It's impossible.

Karen Chellew Guest32:24

Right, that's so true. We had a client several years ago. Actually, they may. I think they actually were working with attorneys. But this was a case where husband did not disclose all of the executive compensation all of the RSUs, I believe but wife had access to them. She just didn't know she had access to them but at the end of the day, that was the case, Karen.

Catherine Shanahan Guest32:52

Is this the case where, beginning they, he says he wants a divorce and I'm sure if you're listening this might resonate with you. He tells her he wants a divorce. He gives her passwords to things. She comes to us, we put her portrait together. Now they fast forward. Now he has a girlfriend and he's not so nice to wife anymore and now he doesn't want to go to mediation, he wants an attorney because he doesn't want to talk to wife anymore, probably because he felt guilty. So she gets an attorney. They both have attorneys.


She goes, her attorney drafts up a proposal. They agree to this proposal, but she says I'm not, something isn't sitting right with me. I want to go back to MDS because something. I want to just have them look at this financial piece. The attorney leaves off all the RSUs. Because he never disclosed it to his attorney. But she had her portrait where we already had the information because she had access right from the beginning and she got the information. So now we send that portrait back to her attorney. They're like, oh my God, it was like 250,000 that she would have signed off on if she didn't come to us first and have that already disclosed. Oh my God, I forgot about that, Karen. That's a great example of what happens.

Karen Chellew Guest34:04

We could sit here all day with stories, Karen, and you know you talk about our client, so our higher net worth families, clients, they it's easy for them to know the value of My Divorce Solution. It's, you know, it's not a hard concept. People who feel like they're middle-income America, and they say, well, I'm just going to go to mediation or I'm just going to go to my attorney and we're just going to get this done. They end up spending enormous amounts of money in that space because they haven't found a way to extract the emotional dialogue from the financial transaction. Nor do they understand how divorce works.


So, even though they may think we get so many calls I pretty much have this figured out. I just need your help in this one single area. Well, that's absolutely not true. It's just not true. People may think that's absolutely not true. It's just not true. People may think that or believe it, but it's just not true. So you know that's kind of the differentiation of people needing help in the divorce arena and why they choose My Divorce Solution.

Karen Covy Host35:23

Yeah, I mean to your point, you guys. First of all, what you do is amazing, and I've been in this space for more decades than I will fess up to. And I got to tell you. This program, product, platform, whatever it is that you want to call it has the potential to bring such clarity and save people. Anybody, no matter what your income level a tremendous amount of money and to your point, Karen, I mean it's not about my divorce has to cost a lot because we have a high net worth. That's not it. I've divorced people who are high net worth. People had millions and millions and millions of dollars and their entire divorce in attorney's fees for both of them cost like less than 10 grand. You know, because they had the documentation, they both were prepared and you know I was able to help them craft documents that did what they wanted to do and put it all together nicely for them.

Catherine Shanahan Guest36:30

And that's where the money, with their lawyer or their mediator, should be spent Exactly. Karen, thank you for that, because that's where we need your expertise.

Karen Covy Host36:40

Yeah. So it's not about I have so much so I have to spend so much. If anything, the people who have more money have to be careful. Oh, my colleagues are going to hate me for this. However, the truth is, when you come in the door and you've got a multimillion-dollar estate, the lawyer has to ask what you have in order to know how to advise you. So they know how much money you have and they know you can afford them and you can afford a fight and you can afford to have that fight continue for a very long time. So those people need services like yours as much as people who are of more modest means, who also need your service because they don't understand what they have, how it works, what their options are. I mean, I think this would be extremely valuable for anybody.

Catherine Shanahan Guest37:31

Thank you. The process is really I would never advise anyone to do without it. Our team there just really can help you be in that no and handle your divorce much better, and ultimately it's better for your kids and, if you have to grow grandparent together, anything else you have to do post-divorce.

Karen Covy Host37:50

Yeah, I mean, like I used to say to my clients, do you want to put your kids through college or mine? Like I'm good either way, right, but this is just. It's a fabulous service. This has been a wonderful conversation. Before we wrap up, do you have any last gems of wisdom that you'd like to share?

Catherine Shanahan Guest38:12

I'll let you go first, Karen

Karen Chellew Guest38:18

Well, what I will share is just my recent discussion with some of our clients and pending clients in that space of overwhelmment. I don't know what to do and they get stuck in. I don't know what to do, so I do nothing Right. So it's important that you take steps towards clarity, not steps towards premature negotiation or premature emotional discussions, anything in that space. The best step you can take when you're faced with what do I do next is just take a step towards financial clarity, because in that knowing, then the path forward will open up to you. Now I'm not talking about if there's cases of domestic abuse or parenting issues, because we don't work in that space, but I'm talking about when you're overwhelmed with what do I do? I'm not in the know, I'm scared, I don't know how things work. Taking the first step and the next step is the most important thing you can do.

Karen Covy Host39:29

That's beautiful. Catherine, what about you?

Catherine Shanahan Guest39:32

Well, I'll continue from that space of being in the know, because the honest truth of the divorce process is you ultimately have to be your own advocate, and so, if you don't have the knowledge, you can have coaches, you can have MDS, you can have attorneys, but at the end of the day, you need to be able to advocate for yourself so you can lay your head down at night and you don't. You don't want to blame anybody else for not knowing. So get the and even if you give up on information, it's okay. Pick whatever's going to make you happy at the end of the day, or whatever you can get, but if you are listening to your gut and you have the financial knowledge to make smart decisions, then you've got to advocate for yourself and you know what you could do it. It's never too late to change your relationship with money. Don't let the numbers scare you. Let it be your reality and then you can move on to make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Karen Covy Host40:23

That is such, such great advice and I want to thank both of you for being here. Tell me if people are listening to this and they want to find you where's the best place they can do that.

Karen Chellew Guest40:35

So they can find us at www.mydivorcesolution.com. That's our website. There they'll find links to all of our social media Facebook, Insta, Twitter, LinkedIn, all those spaces. Most people find us through our podcast. We Chat Divorce. It's on all anywhere you listen to podcasts, I think we just published our hundredth episode, so you can spend a lot of time in that space. But you find out more about why it's important to be prepared. You learn more about the company and our services. So, yeah, lots of places to find us.

Catherine Shanahan Guest41:16

And Karen, you were on there. We did a great podcast with you on WeChat Divorce.

Karen Covy Host41:20

Thank you. Yes, I had a great conversation with you ladies, on We Chat Divorce and for anybody who's listening or watching to this, in the show notes we will link both to my divorce solution, where you can check out the website, and to WeChat Divorce, where you can check out the podcast. I would highly recommend everybody doing that, and also for those of you who are listening, for those of you who are watching. If you like this content, if you like what you're hearing, please do me a big favor, subscribe to the show, subscribe to the podcast, to the YouTube channel, give it all a thumbs up and I look forward to talking with you again and seeing everybody again the next time. Thank you.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


divorce advice, divorce financial planning, off the fence podcast

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