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22/05/2018 By: Alison Bull
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound like the most joyous of places to take a relaxing holiday, does it? “What are you doing this weekend?” “Oh, I’m just taking a short break at the DivorceHotel.” You can imagine the response.
However, the reality of DivorceHotel is far removed from that. Originating in the Netherlands, the underlying ethos is that divorce does not inevitably mean bitterness, acrimony and lengthy legal proceedings. Instead, DivorceHotel embraces the idea that many couples actually want a more positive way to end their marriage and move forward into the next chapter of their lives whether as friends or as co-parents or both. That’s not to say that ending a marriage isn’t painful; it is, but the people behind DivorceHotel hope to find a way to make the process less painful.
DivorceHotel brings the couple together at a hotel for a weekend (although it can happen during the week and/or at a different location if more convenient for the couple). The deal is the couple will receive all the support they need in order to reach an agreement over their separation – that might involve discussions over money, pensions, property or children. Mediation is used to help couples come to that agreement. By providing the professional support the couple need – which along with the mediator could include lawyers, accountants or financial planners – the aim over the weekend is to achieve a final settlement both are content with. The approach has been popular in a number of countries including Denmark and the US where couples have seen the time and cost-effectiveness of the process as a real advantage.
The only stipulations are that the couple need to be on speaking terms before they check-in and they pass an initial screening interview to assess suitability for the process, which is not so different from the screening that all family mediators do before taking on a couple for mediation. Some preparatory work is important too, to give the process the best chance of helping the couple to reach a consensus.
DivorceHotel has certainly captured the media’s imagination. If it is something that has captured yours, get in touch with Alison Bull to discuss how the process could work for you and your family.