Checking Into The Divorce Hotel Australia?
“Dutch entrepreneur Jim Halfens launched the ‘Divorce Hotel’ service that enables couples to check into a 5 star hotel for a weekend and negotiate the terms of their divorce over the course of the weekend.”
Accordingly the website, www.DivorceHotel.com the service involves a weekend of negotiations and mediation in a special hotel suite with divorce lawyers and other professionals such as tax and finance experts, psychologists, real estate agents and whoever else may be required to resolve any issues.”
They compared this form of negotiation to collaborative law on steroids. They may be right. But are you checking into the Divorce Hotel Australia?
Being a collaborative lawyer who encourages couples to resolve their differences by way of collaborative negotiation I find this process if it does exist and if people do use it to be a bit harrowing. Imagine being locked up in a hotel suite with your former partner for the weekend to talk about financial, parenting and other issues which caused the breakdown in your relationship. I don’t think many people could use this process.
The collaborative process does, but not in all circumstances, use other professionals to assist the parties to reach an amicable resolution of their financial and parenting issues. In Australia a Family Consultant, normally a psychologists who has been trained in collaborative practice, is utilized to interview the parties especially where children are concerned to ascertain all relevant information in regard to the parenting of the children past and for their future prior to any negotiations with lawyers taking place.
This provides a lot of useful information to the lawyers in the negotiating meetings. The Family Consultant is more often than not present in the meeting to assist with any emotional issues which may be involved and to also assist the parties to have meaningful negotiations in a constructive manner. The Family Consultant’s involvement is extremely beneficial in assisting the parties to reach an amicable resolution which best meets not only their needs but the needs of the children.
As well Financial Consultants, normally accountants who have also been trained in collaborative practice are used in the collaborative meetings in Australia to ascertain the financial interests of the parties, their assets and liabilities and to report to the solicitors and the parties in the collaborative negotiations. The Financial Consultant can also assist in advising the parties during such negotiations on the options they may put forward and the resolutions they may reach as to whether or not they are achievable, tax effective or in their best interests. Again the input of a Financial Consultant is extremely beneficial in helping the parties reach a sound and amicable resolution of their financial interests.
However the collaborative meetings in Australia normally take place over a period of weeks. The meetings are usually of 2 hours duration which enables the parties to obtain any further information that may be required for the negotiations that take place.
Jim Halfens’ concept is interesting but probably not suitable for most people in this situation.