Having learned a lot from the drawn-out experience, Monique has one piece of for women going through divorce: get a good lawyer.
"Go to the best," she said evenly, when we met over coffee last week. "People ask - why does it cost so much? Because it's worth it, that's why."
Now she has her freedom and financial security, which cuts down on the strain and stress of being divorced. She can take control of her future while keeping things civil with her ex. With the kids on their own and the money all settled, there's not a lot of contact between them anyway. The Posse chicks would be so jealous.
After many years in a failing marriage, Monique is now in a good place. She has a lovely townhome, wonderful friends, a zillion interests and close relationships with her children. But a new man her life? That's harder to come by, especially since Monique doesn't feel like wasting any more time.
She did have one serious boyfriend, but he lived on the West coast. The long distance made it intense and exciting, and like all the divorced women and men I've talked to, Monique was "out of her mind" crazy about her new guy - at first. She was ready to pack her bags and move to L.A. Then reality set in.
"I couldn't give up all the important things in my life," she said. "My friends, my family, my life is here. I need to protect myself." In the end, practicality and maturity won out. She and her former beau are still good friends.
For Monique, friendships are the relationships she nourishes and treasures these days. She's still open to finding someone special, but she's not looking for him in a bar or getting over-eager about a fix-up.
"My girlfriends will get so excited about a first date, spend hours getting ready. They want things to work out so badly. You need to give guy a chance as a person before adding romantic expectations," said Monique, who takes a different approach when going out for the first time.
"I want to go see a concert or a show, not just have dinner," she said. "Then, even if he's not for me, we've done something worthwhile. Life is too short."
Monique isn't interested in getting married again - "If I even say the word, take me to the psych ward!"- but she's interested in a committed relationship. She's looking for someone distinguished-looking, independent, brilliant, with a sense of humor. And it wouldn't hurt if he were a little bit of a bad boy too.
But the pickings are slim. Many of the men who want to date women Monique's age are older, like the guy she met through a matchmaker who turned out to be in his 70s. When she told him she wasn't interested, he said "Well, you better hurry up because you aren't going to have those good looks much longer."
Monique says her ideal man might be a fantasy, but she's keeping her standards high. "If it happens, great. If not, I'm fine."
And she really is. She likes her own company and will pop into Bluestone for dinner or go to Space to hear music by herself. She finds excitement and fulfillment through pursuing the arts, travelling, running, and staying close to her adult children.
"My time is precious and I'd rather spend time with my kids than some dopey guy. Those are the quality relationships that are a sure thing."
All in all, this is an exciting time of life for Monique. "I didn't realize how much I'd lost of myself in my marriage," she said, echoing the sentiments of many of the newly single people I interviewed. And how does she feel about her husband's long-time girlfriend?
"I want to thank her for taking him off my hands."
Coming up next time: Warren, the man who loves women!
For more on Divorce & Dating, page down through my older posts - there's a lot of juicy stuff.