Some concepts never cease to amaze, especially when reality television is involved. Promising an idyllic setting for a “quickie” divorce, the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, is welcoming couples who want to end their marriage while surrounded by golf courses, swimming pools, hiking trails and spa treatments. While one can appreciate the calming influence that such an environment may have on an otherwise potentially emotional and stressful situation, I am not quite sure how playing a round of 18 holes is going to help.
The way it works is as follows – for a flat $5,000 fee, the parties are lodged in separate rooms at the resort for the weekend and work with a mediator to reach a resolution and sign a settlement agreement. The agreement is then sent to a judge, who enters the agreement to officially end the marriage. Not only does the resort provide mediators, but lawyers as well. It seems that additional experts may even be available depending on the circumstances of a given case. Not surprisingly, some guests will participate in a reality television show, while others will keep private their marital dissolution. Conceptually, the hotel even envisions having group dinners and sessions for multiple divorcing couples.
Whether this sort of arrangement will prove effective remains to be seen, but it does seem like something that would only apply to those looking for a quick out to their marriage, without any concern for who the attorney is, who the mediator is, who the expert is, and the like. This, essentially, goes entirely against my prior blog entry about selecting the right mediator for your given case. With any sort of complexities involved, this idea may unravel, no matter how good the massages are at the spa.
Ultimately, the end of a marriage should not be treated lightly and it is imperative that the conclusion is reached with careful attention to detail and equity for both parties involved. Should things go wrong, what may seem like a great concept at a luxurious hotel may, instead, feel like a stay at the Overlook Hotel.