Check in married, check out single: Dutch 'Divorce Hotel' is on its way to the U.S… and tipped to be a reality series too
21:03 GMT, 28 May 2012
Divorce Hotel, a Netherlands-based program that assists couples in splitting up during a stay at a hotel, is coming to the U.S.
Jim Halfens, the concept's 33-year-old founder who has run the business out of 20 Netherlands hotels since it launched last year, is in negotiation with several New York and Los Angeles hotels.
The program, which offers quick divorces that are 'fully arranged for by a team of professionals in a single long weekend' charges couples a flat fee of anywhere between $3,500 and $10,000.
Private: Divorce Hotel, a Netherlands-based concept, is coming to the U.S. The concept, which offers weekend-long guidance, works with hotels such as the Carlton Ambassador in the Netherlands, above
Divorce Hotel claims to offer divorces that can be agreed upon over the course of three days.
The idea is to talk couples through alimony and splitting assets as well as visitation rights to any children over a short period of time as opposed to drawing the process out over weeks or even months.
The unusual concept, which also provides legal advice and mediators, has proved so appealing that two U.S. TV production companies, Base Productions and A. Smith & Company, are interested in creating reality series around the concept.
Mr Halfens told The New York Times that 17 couples have trialled the program in the Netherlands and only one of those couples failed to leave with divorce papers in hand.
The only thing a couple has had to do once they left Divorce Hotel is present their divorce papers to a judge as required in Dutch law.
Couples sleep in separate rooms throughout their stay and suites are used for mediation talks.
A hotel's staff members are under special instructions to not wish the couple a nice weekend.
Founder: Jim Halfens, the concept's founder, is even in talks to make Divorce Hotel a reality series
Mr Halfens said: 'You don't want the hotel crew wishing you a very nice weekend and hoping you have lots of fun here.'
The cost per couple is determined by the complexity of a couple's financial arrangements.
As a comparison, typical divorces in the U.S. tend to cost $5,000 to $20,000, according to Randall M. Kessler, the chairman of the American Bar Association's family law section.
Obviously, if a couple have pricey assets, divorce prices can soar.
One customer spoke to the paper about his experience at the Divorce Hotel.
The anonymous male said it was his second divorce and the previous one had cost him $30,000 just on 'lawyer and court costs'. It had also taken one year to finalise all the details.
He said: 'There was a lot of fighting – not by use, but our lawyers. Every letter her attorney wrote had to be answered by mine. That financially ruined me.'
He added that a weekend at the Divorce Hotel provided a far smoother divorce the second time around.
On his divorce weekend, he said, they went out on the town for dinner and wine.
'It wasn't weird or wrong,' he said. 'We felt great – like friends.'
Mr Halfens added that he has reached out to Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher in regards to their intended divorce.
He is also looking to expand into other countries – Italy, the UK and Germany are next on the list.