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'Divorce Hotel' Helps Dutch Couples End Marriages on Vacation

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on February 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Some married couples just need a vacation from one another's annoying foibles. But for those seeking a more permanent split, the "Divorce Hotel" offers a weekend getaway you'll never forget.

Yes, the Divorce Hotel -- where heartbreak goes hand-in-hand with a continental breakfast.

Actually, the breakfast part depends on which hotel you're staying at. The "Divorce Hotel" program takes place at a number of high-end boutique hotels across the Netherlands, Fox News reports.

Here's how the Divorce Hotel works over there -- and why it may not work as well on this side of the pond, depending on where you live:

Couples seeking a split must first fill out an application for a Divorce Hotel weekend. Lawyers choose the pairs most suitable for a quickie divorce, Fox reports.

Over two days, the soon-to-be-divorced partners meet with attorneys and a mediator to iron out property division, spousal support payments, and visitation rights.

"When they leave the hotel, all work is done," the Divorce Hotel's creator Jim Halfens told the UK's Sky News. "The only thing that happens then in Dutch law is that they have to show the agreement to a judge in the Netherlands and that takes a couple of weeks."

But the Divorce Hotel concept may not translate so well in the United States, depending on location. Most states impose minimum waiting periods after filing for divorce to get a final divorce decree. The waiting period can be as long as 18 months or as short as 10 days. Some states, however, impose no waiting period.

It's also not clear if the Divorce Hotel assigns a lawyer to represent each spouse. Rules of ethical conduct for American lawyers forbid one lawyer from representing both sides in a divorce -- even if both parties agree.

Despite these technicalities, the Divorce Hotel could be coming soon to America -- at least on TV. One production company is considering a TV series based off the concept; several American networks are reportedly interested, according to Fox.

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