A lot of people have become familiar with the phrase “Starter wife” from the book by Gigi Grazer which became a TV miniseries on USA starring Debra Messer (as a fellow ginger/red head I happened to love the show). Similar to just the Starter Wife is the term “starter marriage.” As described by Pamela Paul in her book The Starter Marriage and The Future of Matrimony, a starter marriage is a first marriage that lasts five years or less and ends before the couple has children.
I happen to disagree on the ending before marriage portion, because it is quite common for people who are not in love, or not ready for marriage, to get married simply because of the child. In my own opinion, a starter marriage is one that is preparing you for future relationships and life. You enter into it with a zest for life and without caution. You know what happens without cautionary measures, you get pregnant. Kidding (but also true!)… Things don’t work out and you need a quick simple ending to wrap things up. A starter marriage doesn’t need a messy divorce. It needs a starter divorce, but we’ll get to this later.
The term starter marriage refers to a fragile marriage used to start off your life. You’re not exactly sure who you are yet or what you want and neither does your spouse. It’s a marriage that starts off either for the wrong reasons or without any stable framework to ensure a long life together. Maybe you got married in Vegas à la Britney style. Perhaps you got married because you got pregnant and not because you were in love. Maybe you got married because all your friends were doing it, and you wanted the wedding of your dreams before all your friends stole your ideas on Pinterest! Maybe you simply got married young because you were madly in love, and then that love and lust was outweighed by responsibility and the two of you simply grew apart. Maybe your boyfriend was in the military and getting deployed, so you two decided to make it official before he left.
No matter what that reason may be, you’re now at a fork in the road and you’re not sure what to do. If you’re at this site, you’re wondering if you should get a divorce. There are a lot of choices to take into consideration before you make the final decision. Sometimes going to lawyer is just what it takes to put the marriage back together. Sometimes, it’s time to see this as what it was, which is that this is something to learn from and to move on. If you’ve made that decision, you have a few options on what to do. The best option for a starter marriage is a starter divorce: An uncontested divorce to get it over quickly and cheaply. You sign a bit of paperwork, wait the 30 day cooling off period, and then move on with your life. This can be done in a day & without drama.
However, if your life isn’t that easy and there are financials that make things more complicated, or perhaps the it’s not so easy as splitting up everything equally and walking away, you may have to go contested…(but I don’t waaaannna!! –I KNOW, I KNOW!!!)