Anyone who’s ever been through a divorce knows that navigating the process is no picnic. (Trust me, I’m one of them.)
Trying to make sense of legal documents, paying outrageous hourly lawyer fees, and figuring out custody arrangements — all while emotions are running high — is enough to make even the most easy-going person lose their cool. It can also be a timely affair, taking months or even years before it’s all said and done. But now there’s a new (and very much improved) way to get divorced, all in a single weekend.
Enter, the Divorce Hotel. It offers assistance to couples looking to part ways amicably, through a process that’s intended to be quick, simple, and maybe even a tiny bit relaxing. (Because yes, it’s an actual hotel.)
Skeptical? I was at first, too. But here’s what I learned when I dug a little deeper.
At the Divorce Hotel, you check in as a married couple and leave several days later divorced (once all the paperwork is processed, of course). Spouses each get their own hotel room (I know you were wondering), and there are mediators and other professionals on hand to assist you every step of the way.
Plus, you’ll get the VIP treatment from the moment you arrive, which helps couples find some much-needed zen during what is typically a sad and arduous process. Instead of stressing and fretting, you can grab a massage, play a round of golf, or do whatever you need to do to relax and actually enjoy your stay — all while getting yourself a speedy divorce.
Honestly, that sounds pretty amazing to me.
Jim Halfens, the founder and CEO behind the Divorce Hotel, tells Babble that he came up with the idea when he noticed a pattern of once-amicable separations becoming incredibly toxic. In each case, it seemed to be the side-effect of the grueling legal process that couples are subjected to.
“When you are ready to divorce in an amicable way, the process should be faster and much more modern,” Halfens says. “Delaying divorce decisions is like creating a time bomb.”
Halfens believes the entire divorce system is broken — from paying lawyers to go to bat for you to dragging out the process for months or years on end. It only leads to costly and lengthy divorces that leave couples angry, resentful, and defeated, rather than feeling a sense of closure or willingness to embrace the next chapter of their lives. But putting soon-to-be-ex spouses in a calm, relaxing environment away from external forces can help accomplish that, Halfens says.
“A positive environment like a nice hotel, instead of a dull lawyer’s office, helps to keep this process positive and amicable,” he adds.
Those aren’t the only perks, though. When you check in to Divorce Hotel, you’ll know exactly what to expect about the process, from start to finish. Everything you need will be right in one place, including mediators, notaries, and financial planners. You also know exactly what the cost is (imagine that!), which is about $10K — considerably lower than many standard divorce proceedings end up costing.
Best of all? You know exactly when it will all be over. There’s no dragging things on, which Halfens believes helps couples get in the right headspace to work through their issues.
“The time pressure of 48 hours makes [couples] realize that we don’t have time for childish behavior,” says Halfens. “We don’t have time for games. If you delay the process during the weekend you run the risk that the procedure fails and you lose your money and fall back into a traditional procedure. Maybe that’s the reason that 95% [of clients] leave our hotel divorced in a positive way.”
You gotta admit, those are pretty good odds. So it’s no wonder why the Divorce Hotel is a hit. So far, it’s only up and running in one U.S. state — New York — but Halfens says there are plans to expand to more states soon. You can also find a Divorce Hotel abroad, in places like the U.K. and the Netherlands, and soon in Argentina and Australia.
To be honest, I wish one was opening near me a bit sooner, because I’d be checking in ASAP. As a separated mom of two who’s looking down the daunting and endlessly confusing barrel of the divorce process, I’d love the option of having things streamlined for me. Because no matter who I seem to talk to, everyone has differing advice, opinions, and ideas as to where to go and how to get started. Prices for mediation and lawyers and everything in between vary greatly, and while my soon-to-be-ex and I mostly get along, the second we try to start negotiating and planning for the future, things get … well, a little sticky.
Halfens believes that overall, that’s the beauty of the service he provides. You get to avoid (almost) all of the negativity that comes from not just leaving your marriage, but also the uncomfortable legal process that follows.
“We say that the marriage being over is the negative part of the story,” Halfens notes, “but your divorce should be your positive new start in life. Our clients need to be able to wish each other a bright new future.”
The mission is pure and simple: help people move on with their lives and start fresh in a positive way. All I can say is, let’s hope this is the future of divorce. Because at this point, anything to simplify the process sounds pretty good to me.More On