Most of us are familiar with destination weddings. Tying the knot with your significant other on the serene beaches or some far away island or in a location of great significance to you and your future spouse sounds luxurious and has increased in popularity over the years. What you probably didn’t know is that so have destination divorces. After all, who considers such an emotionally charged and often unhappy life event to be the time for a vacation (especially with your soon-to-be ex-spouse)? The answer is: a lot of people. However, you may want to think twice before obtaining a destination divorce.
Historically, destination divorces were not uncommon. Prior to the establishment in all fifty (50) states of some kind of no-fault divorce (where a divorce can be granted without pointing to specific transgressions of either spouse), couples who lived in states that only granted fault-based divorces would travel abroad or to other states that gave no-fault divorces to end an unhappy marriage. With the adoption of no-fault divorces across the country, however, destination divorces seemed to become a thing of the past, until recently – largely due to creative marketing on the part of the resort industry.
A trend that began in Europe but has now reached the United States, destination divorces boast a clean and easy breakup over a weekend of being pampered and tranquility. In fact, destination divorces have become so popular that there are entire companies, like DivorceHotel, which specialize in the field. Here’s how it works:
You and your spouse arrive at the resort on a Friday morning. You are both given your own rooms, and a team of trained mediators, therapists and other licensed professionals work with you and your spouse over the course of the weekend on settling your divorce. You will cover all aspects, from property division, who gets which bank account or pays debts, and spousal support. If and when tensions get high or its time to break, you and your spouse can enjoy the resort pool and/or spa, play a round of golf or relax with a few drinks at the bar. When you leave the resort on Sunday, you will check-out divorced.
While the idea of a destination divorce may seem appealing by avoiding lawyers, a prolonged court battle and in theory, could foster a mood of relaxation and compromise, there are major downfalls. For starters, one of the very reasons you need a good divorce lawyer is to have a knowledgeable advocate who knows the law and will protect your rights and interests. If you go through the divorce process without an attorney, you may be left in a very bad financial position and end-up giving more than you needed to or should have to your ex-spouse.
Further, most people cannot simply brush off the pent up emotions that come along with divorce and possibly years of an unhappy marriage by taking a swim or playing a round of golf. This is another reason why you hire a divorce lawyer, because you pay them to keep a dedicated and clear head throughout the entire divorce process – especially during times when you can’t.
Finally, the likelihood of reaching a rational and preferable resolution on all aspects of your divorce over the course of just three (3) days is highly unlikely. This is particularly true if there are children involved. You do not want to obtain a divorce without settling most, if not all of the issues on the first try so you can avoid future litigation. You should view your divorce as planning for the rest of your life, which includes a consideration of the tax consequences, custody and visitation schedules of minor children and retirement planning that come along with a divorce. For this reason, you should always employ a divorce attorney to at least perform a cursory review of your case and advise you on the legal ramifications of getting divorced.
If you are considering divorce, destination or not, or you have any other family law matter, be sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney who knows the law and can protect your rights. The DiPietro Family Law Group has teams of experienced family lawyers in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Contact us to schedule a consultation today at (888) 530-4374.