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Divorce Mediation News

Famous wedding resort to offer ‘divorce packages’

By Jennifer Gould Keil and Sophia Rosenbaum, Originally appeared September 4, 2014 in New York Post

Check in married — check out single!

An upstate resort famous for its lavish weddings will ironically serve as the venue for “Divorce Hotel” — a business that promises couples a painless split in an idyllic setting.

For fee of $7500 to $12,000, the divorcing parties are put up in separate rooms at Saratoga Springs’ Gideon Putnam Resort for a weekend and work with a mediator to finalize the details into a signed agreement.

“Practically, they are divorced after signing on Sunday,” founder Jim Halfens, who already runs similar projects in his native Netherlands, told The Post. “After signing, all work is done and we send it to a judge who only puts a stamp on it to make it official.”

Halfens expects to start up his services at the end of September.

He believes the main clientele will be New Yorkers looking for a speedy split — but any US citizens can participate as long as they agree to use the provided mediators and lawyers.

Some guests will participate in a reality TV show, but most will conduct their marriage terminations in private.

Halfens reached out to the Gideon Putnam about two weeks ago, according to Rob Sgarlata, a representative for the hotel.

“They want people to get into an environment that minimizes the stress of the situation and that’s exactly what we offer,” said Sgarlata, whose resort has golf courses, swimming pools, hiking trails and spa treatments.

Sgarlata does not think adding Halfens’ service will tarnish the hotel’s reputation as a wedding venue, adding, “We welcome all kinds of guests.”“From our point of view, these are more guests with a specific need, and we have an opportunity to help them to fill that need,” Sgarlata said. “We don’t see it as it different from any of our other groups.”

Since weddings will likely be held at the same time as some of the divorce negotiations, Sgarlata said the hotel will keep the milestones separate.

“We would be sensitive to having them in different parts of the hotel,” he said.