Business Insider reports that New York City will host its first-ever Divorce Expo this weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. The event is the brainchild of a mother-daughter team, Nicole Baras Feuer and Francine Baras, both divorce mediators. Baras Feuer told the Wall Street Journal the expo “is not about promoting divorce or serving as a mixer for people to meet potential partners. Rather, it’s about building a community.” She says, “Even after divorce, people need a network of continued support to help them transition into their new, post-divorce life.”
Baras Feuer and her mother got the idea when they saw a similar expo in Paris; apparently divorce expos are a growing trend in Europe, which seems strange to me, since so few people there marry compared to couples here in the US. The team consider their divorce expo a smart counterpoint to the “wedding industrial complex” and consider their movement “evidence of the commodification of divorce.”
There are critics, of course, but one Upper East Side mother told the WSJ that she actually postponed the finalization of her divorce in order to attend the expo first. 43-year-old Randi Lambert says, “It appealed to me on every level. On the one hand, it’s informative, financially and legally.” Then, she added, there’s the “social aspect of being part of, instead of being excluded, or a stereotype.”
As someone who went through a fairly difficult divorce relatively alone (thank God for my mother!), I can certainly see the benefit of being able to access legal information and to gather with others in the same situation. On the other hand, I think I would probably resent the idea of being “sold” during such a sensitive and vulnerable time.
What do you think about a divorce expo? Helpful, exploitative or both?