For couples in a hurry to end their marriage, there is apparently a new option: a 48-hour, weekend getaway divorce at a high-end hotel. And the “Divorce Hotel” could be coming to American television.
The Divorce Hotel is the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Jim Halfens, who currently offers the all-inclusive quickie divorce service in six hotels in the Netherlands but wants to bring it to the U.K., Italy, Germany, and New York and Los Angeles.
He is also apparently negotiating with two American television production companies to film Divorce Hotel (are you surprised?) as a reality show.
According to the New York Times, it works like this: “Check in on Friday, married. Then, with the help of mediators and independent lawyers, check out on Sunday, divorce papers in hand, all for a flat fee.”
If a couple is accepted for the program, the free ranges from $3,500 to $10,000 depending on how complicated your divorce happens to be.
Halfens’ website explains that “we work with a fixed team of professionals, including: lawyers, real estate agents, civil-law notaries, tax lawyers and company valuators.”
Although any divorce can have a huge emotional toll, the Divorce Hotel concept would seem to only work in a relatively straightforward “friendly divorce” with relatively few contested issues that could be settled during a weekend vacation.
If the couple doesn’t see eye to over dividing up the marital assets or child custody, for example, they would have to go the traditional route which could take months or even years and run up large legal bills. Moreover, U.S. laws differ from state to state about community property and other legal issues.
On the other hand, many divorcing couples opt for mediation or arbitration because of the long wait to get a trial date in family court. The role of a divorce mediator is to facilitate the discussion between the two spouses by assisting with communication and to offer suggestions to help resolve differences.
Halfens told the Times that his staff screens couples to make sure they have a willingness to submit their divorce to mediation: “If the couple is bickering or barely speaking to each other, or if greed or vengeance seems to be a motivation, the couple is rejected.”
Cooler heads rarely prevail on reality TV. But a television executive negotiating with Halfens claims that the Divorce Hotel reality show could air this fall on an as-yet unnamed network.
Is the Divorce Hotel, if it is ever filmed, yet another excuse for couples to embarrass and humiliate themselves on national TV? In the alternative, would you allow your quickie divorce to be shown on television if the producers were picking up the tab for the legal fees?