Skip the Divorce Hotel and head to the Caribbean
Couple arguing on beach
The vision of Dutch entrepreneur and Divorce Hotel mastermind Jim Halfens sounds mighty lofty. Disgruntled couples check in to a Divorce Hotel on Friday and - through the help of mediators, lawyers, and some divine intervention - check out on Sunday single and ready to mingle.
Though it is cringe-inducing to consider that a serious institution like marriage could be chucked out the window during the course of a 72-hour hotel stay, we all know about the alternatives - drawn out hearings, custody battles, fighting over money and kidneys (true story).
A weekend at a swank hotel where you hammer out the details of your divorce sounds ideal. Even if both parties are in agreement as to the division of assets and custody, most states require a certain period of time to pass between the filing of the initial paperwork and the issuance of the Judgment of Dissolution - usually six weeks to six months. Throw in any kind of dispute, and you are entangled for a while.
If Halfens' business model doesn't get a foothold in the United States (he's currently in negotiations with hotels in several cities and trying to get a deal for a reality show - I'd watch that!), I suggest a hotel-filled venue that is also known for its quickie divorces - the Dominican Republic.
Yes, the azure ocean and white powdery sands of that paradise littered with all-inclusive hotels ready to attend to your every need is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway for couples ready to untie the knot. Ask Marc Anthony and Dayanara Torres, who got divorced in a zipped-lip Dominican trial that made it possible for Anthony to marry his next future ex-wife, JLo.
The ease of the so-called "Dominican Divorce" comes thanks to a clause in Law 142, drafted in 1971, which states: "Foreigners who are in the country although they are not residents may have themselves divorced by Mutual Consent." Of course, "Mutual Consent" is the operative term, meaning everyone is on the same page.
The law was written with the help of Manuel G. Espinosa, an attorney who specialized in international divorces in Mexico from 1939-1971, then relocated to the Dominican Republic at the invitation of the Dominican ambassador after a similar law in Mexico was overturned. Espinosa's firm performed divorces for the likes of Mariah Carey, Hilary Swank, Lisa Marie Presley and plenty of other celebrities looking to split discretely.
The firm's office manager, Louise Ricardo, who has been with the firm since it's founding and is an expert on international divorce, actually wrote to Halfens to inform him that the Dominican Republic has been performing express divorces for 41 years. Ricardo says he responded only saying that he will weigh his options after he has his businesses more established in the Netherlands and the U.S.
Under Divorce Laws in Dominican Republic, the Dominican divorce MUST address issues of child custody, child support and division of assets in order to comply with the due process.
Therefore, the Dominican divorce is a full divorce legal options that all couples that are in consent can use to get divorced fast and in a very easy manner.
Read more at the US Embassy in Santo Domingo website at: http://santodomingo.usembassy.gov/divorce_dr_mc.html under Divorce by mutual consent between foreign citizens. (bottom of the page)
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