The divorce process tends to be a very personal and emotional time for Maryland residents. While some couples are able to split quite amicably, divorce is still no picnic--and it certainly is no weekend getaway.
One Dutch entrepreneur is aiming to change that. According to the New York Times, Jim Halfens wants to introduce his Netherlands-based "Divorce Hotel" concept to the U.S. The program offers express divorce services to couples willing to check in to a luxury hotel for the weekend, settle up their disputes with the assistance of a mediator, and check out a couple days later with divorce papers in toe. To add a bit of American spin, some of this will even be filmed for a reality TV show.
While beginning and ending a divorce during one lavish weekend may sound enticing, it is not realistic for many couples. Decisions about child custody, child support, spousal support, and property and asset division must be made during divorce proceedings and these decisions take time even for couples who have no major disagreements.
Even when both parties are in agreement about these issues, it is generally beneficial for each party to spend time examining options with experienced legal counsel in order to ensure these major decisions and divisions are wise.
Additionally, divorce can put a person in a very vulnerable position emotionally, making it important not to come to any rash conclusions during rushed divorce mediation conversations.
And in some cases, divorce can unfortunately bring out the worst in a person. Sometimes, a spouse may hide money, undervalue assets or even engage in fraud, and it takes time for legal professionals to identify these problems.
According to the New York Times, Halfens admits that Divorce Hotel is not suited to couples who are not getting along very well. Apparently, one in three couples who apply for the program is accepted. A couple could be rejected if greed or vengeance seem to be a motivator, or if they are engaging in common end-of-marriage behavior: bickering.
Nonetheless, while it may not seem like a good idea to divorce professionals, some Maryland couples might still make a reservation at the Divorce Hotel. Would you?
Source: New York Times, "Quick Getaways, at the Divorce Hotel," Janet Morrissey, May 26, 2012