Divorce Hotel … Really?

10 Nov

You’ve heard of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ or ‘Hotel California’ … but ‘DivorceHotel’? Yup, it’s something new.

Here’s the deal.

For a base price of $5000, a separating couple can check in for the weekend at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY (a very nice place) and check out two days later with a notarized final divorce agreement. The price includes two rooms, access to lawyers and all divorce mediation.

Heart split apartThe website for this concept, which started in the Netherlands, touts it as “Divorcing in a positive way.”

As a mediator, I was intrigued. It sounded good, so I did a little research.

On the plus side, DivorceHotel apparently has an intake process, to see if a couple’s situation is suitable for uncoupling so quickly. That has merit, since coming to an agreement in 48 hours can be pretty aggressive if there are lots of complicated financial issues to untangle.

Another positive is that DivorceHotel advertises that professionals, other than mediators, can be involved. For example, the services of an accountant might be needed to discuss tax consequences of options that are being discussed.

On the downside, sometimes people need time to reflect about decisions they are making. Two days may not be enough time for that to occur.  Also, there is no mention of the qualifications of the mediators – something a prospective divorcing couple would definitely want to explore.

And here is the biggest negative. They are making it into a reality TV show. Such a bad idea which totally turned me off to the whole idea. Mediation is private and confidential and it should stay that way.

So, my advice to divorcing couples is to take off the pressure of a ‘quickie’ weekend divorce agreement. Don’t bother spending the money on the fancy hotel amenities, knowing that your ‘soon-to-be-ex’ might be having dinner at the next table or show up at the pool.

You can find a good mediator in your area who can help you through all of the issues you will have to make decisions about and if it only takes a couple of sessions, you can use the money you saved to treat yourself to something special after the judge signs your divorce papers.


P.S. I have written about mediation-based reality TV before:  Mediation Hollywood Style and Not My Kind of Mediation. From this mediator’s perspective, TV does not have a place in a confidential, private process.

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