Check in married, check out single
Dutch entrepreneur Jim Halfens has launched the "Divorce Hotel", a service that enables couples to check into a five-star hotel for a weekend and negotiate the terms of their divorce over the course of the weekend.
So far, the service is proving successful for couples in the Netherlands and Mr Halfens has plans to expand into other countries including the US.
According to the website, divorcehotel.com, the service involves a weekend of negotiations and mediation in a special hotel suite with divorce lawyers and other professionals such as tax and finance experts, psychologists, real estate agents and whoever else may be required to resolve any issues. Sounds like a fun weekend away!
Once the negotiations are finalised and a decision is reached, the parties involved receive official papers at the end of the weekend outlining the resolution which are then presented to a Court. Within a week or so, the Court ratifies the documents and the couple's divorce is finalised.
The basic foundations of 'Divorce Hotel' lie in a couples' ability to negotiate an agreement in much the same way as we use collaborative family law methods...only in a more intense, and condensed, negotiation period. Kind of like collaborative law on steroids!
Obviously this system won't work for every couple - I can't see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reaching an agreement while spending a weekend with their legal teams in Palm Springs for example.
Nor can I see it working for couples with complex financial and emotional issues to resolve, or if there has been a history of domestic violence.
It does however support the notion that collaborative family law (negotiation by the parties involved with the help of their lawyers) is a useful tool for many couples. And it can be done relatively quickly and cost-effectively, without the need to spend an entire weekend holed up with your ex-partner and a team of lawyers...
If you like the idea of negotiating the terms of your divorce and avoiding Court action, perhaps you might like to speak to your family lawyer about the collaborative law method? No reservation required.